FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — A New Bedford man died overnight after he was shot by a police officer in Fall River, the office of Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III said, and several of his relatives and friends were later arrested during an altercation with police at Charlton Memorial Hospital.
Megan Borges, a spokesperson for the DA’s office, said Monday that Larry Ruiz-Barreto, 19, was pronounced dead at the hospital following the shooting.
According to Borges, police responded just after 11:30 p.m. Sunday to a report of possible gunshots near the intersection of Riggenbach and Airport Roads.
Upon arrival, Borges said a number of vehicles were seen leaving the area and police attempted to pull one of them over. It was during that encounter that an officer opened fire into the car and shot the driver, Ruiz-Barreto.
Fall River police said the 911 caller had reported a car was smoking, and they heard two bangs that could have been gunshots. Police did not comment on why the officer decided to use deadly force.
The DA’s office said it’s investigating the shooting along with Massachusetts State Police, and would work to determine if the officer was justified in the shooting. Police did not release the officer’s name.
Conflict at Charlton Hospital
A number of members of Ruiz-Barreto’s family were in Fall River District Court Monday after five were arrested in a disturbance at the hospital after the shooting.
“Police are assassins,” Demix Ruiz-Hernandez told the judge in Spanish. He is Ruiz-Barreto’s father, and was arrested during the fight at the hospital.
Police first went to the hospital at around 2 a.m. after being told 10 to 15 of Ruiz-Barreto’s family members “were being disruptive,” according to the police report obtained by Eyewitness News.
Upon learning Ruiz-Barreto had died, the report says the family began yelling, screaming and “throwing chairs, tables and kicking objects,” which resulted in broken windows and other property damage. Some of the family members started threatening officers, according to police.
“Several of the men in the group stated in Spanish…’I want to shoot them, I’ll shoot them all,'” Asst. District Attorney Gillian Kirsch said in court Monday.
One of the men making the threats then spat at an officer and when police moved to arrest him, a large fight broke out. The report states the officers were prompted to use physical force and in one case, a stun gun, to subdue members of the group as they resisted arrest.
Five people were taken into custody as a result and arraigned Monday on various charges.
Jose Ruiz-Hernandez, 43, Ruiz-Barreto’s uncle, was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, vandalizing property, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and threat to commit a crime.
Jonathan Ruiz-Hernandez, 31, also Ruiz-Barreto’s uncle, was charged with resisting arrest, vandalizing property, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, and threat to commit a crime.
Demix Ruiz-Hernandez, 36, Ruiz-Barreto’s father, was charged with disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, vandalizing property, and threat to commit a crime.
Leslie Lugo, 41, was charged with interfering with a police officer, resisting arrest, vandalizing property, disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace.
Miguel Sanchez, 25, was charged with vandalizing property, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace.
All five were arraigned in court Monday and four were released on personal recognizance, while Jose Ruiz-Hernandez’s bail was revoked on a unrelated case out of New Bedford.