Thursday, May 14, 2009

Massachusetts: No charges in neighbor's death

Wilbraham, Massachusetts

From The Republican of May 9, 2009
No charges in neighbor's death

A Boston Road condominium owner who shot and killed a neighbor Thursday night at present faces no charges because the shooting appears to be in self defense, Police Chief Allen M. Stratton said Friday.

Stratton said the Woodcrest Condominium resident, whose name was not released, told police he shot twice at a man who came into his apartment without permission, refused to leave and then became aggressive. The shooting took place just before 8:30 p.m.

The intruder turned out to be the owner of a neighboring condominium unit. He was identified as David P. Gatti, 29, of unit C25, police said.

Gatti, a star football and lacrosse player more than a decade ago at Minnechaug Regional High School, sold insurance with his parent's agency in Springfield.

He was shot twice and pronounced dead at Baystate Medical Center, police said.

Friends of Gatti said Friday the account of the shooting simply does not jibe with the gentle, non-violent man they've known for years.

"He didn't have an aggressive bone in his body," said Samuel O'Neil of Springfield.

According to police reports, the condo resident was home sometime after 8 p.m. when he heard someone trying to enter the front door. He went to the door, opened it and saw Gatti, who stepped inside uninvited.

The resident told police he did not recognize him, and when asked to leave, Gatti refused and became "threatening in nature," police said.

Police Chief Stratton said Gatti did not have a weapon and never laid his hands on the condo owner. The owner described him as yelling and gesturing in such a way that he felt threatened.

The resident told police he retreated into the condo and armed himself, and when Gatti reportedly followed him, he opened fire, police said.

Stratton said the initial investigation so far indicates the "control, possession and use of the firearm was defensive in nature and consistent with Massachusetts General Laws."

Hampden County District Attorney William M. Bennett said his office will review the circumstances but it appears the shooting is justified within state law.


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