SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - The Hampden County District Attorney has decided not to file criminal charges against an Agawam police officer who shot a 21 year-old woman in the jaw.
According to a statement sent to 22News by DA Mark Mastroianni, their investigation has concluded that the May 5 shooting of Britteney Miles by Officer Danielle Petrangelo was an accident. The DA says that on analyzing the case through state laws regarding assault and battery and the discharge of firearms, they could not prosecute.
"Without question, Ms. Miles should not have been shot; however, the discharge of Officer Petrangelo's gun was not intentional," Mastroianni wrote.
According to Mastroianni's report, around 4:30 P.M. on May 5, Miles called Agawam police to her 238 Maple Street apartment, complaining that her boyfriend had broken in. The boyfriend, David Kozak, was allegedly drunk and had smashed her phone after she made the call to police.
Petrangelo, who arrived first, had found that a window to the basement apartment was open, and another was broken out and shattered. Petrangelo, and a second officer, Thomas Forgues, told investigators that they heard things being thrown around inside the apartment and the sound of a woman screaming.
Miles and Kozak, however, dispute this; telling investigators that at the time police arrived, the situation had calmed down, and Kozak was out back having a cigarette.
Petrangelo announced that they were police officers, and told whoever was inside to open the door. When Miles went to open the door (she indicated to investigators that she was holding a one of her children at the time), Petrangelo's service weapon went off, with the bullet hitting Miles in the chin. She underwent emergency surgery at Baystate Medical Center, where she remained until being released about 10 days later.
Analyzing the gun, Mastroianni says that there was no malfunction in the mechanism of the Smith & Wesson M&P45 semi-automatic pistol. "There is no ability to conclusively determine how or why the weapon discharged, other than the conclusion of an accidental trigger pull," the DA wrote.
Mastroianni says that despite some dispute between the accounts of the officers and Miles and Kozak, he must conclude that this was accidental.
"The human factors attendant to the inherently dangerous circumstances of this police response likely caused the officer to become startled and/or incorrectly perceive the situation at the instant when enough pressure was applied to the weapon's trigger to cause its firing," he concluded.
Though no charges are being filed, Mastroianni says that the Agawam police may take additional action to determine whether their departmental procedures were violated during this incident.