SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Hampden District Attorney’s Office says two officers in an officer-involved shooting on February 25 in Springfield used reasonable force to defend themselves and others.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni held a news conference Friday to announce the findings in the incident. It was determined that Trooper Santos and Trooper Cusack “acted in the lawful exercise of their duties and appropriately used reasonable force in self-defense and the defense of others.” Gulluni said there was no other reasonable means to neutralize the threat of 48-year-old William Tisdol of Hartford, Connecticut.
“Mr. Tisdol’s actions dictated the course of events and the reasonable and necessary use of lethal force by the troopers. There is clear and copious evidence that Mr. Tisdol accessed, pointed, and fired his gun at troopers. The entirety of the amassed, uncontroverted evidence all stand clearly in agreement that the use of force by the troopers was an unavoidable last resort, to which they arrived after issuing numerous verbal commands and then were fired upon by Mr. Tisdol. Their actions comport with the policies of the Massachusetts State Police and with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” said Gulluni.
Officers of the Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit were called to MGM Springfield around 2:00 a.m. on February 25 for a report of Tisdol allegedly threatened the shoot a person at a gaming table. MGM Security said Tisdol then left the casino.
State Police Troopers Cusack and Santos found Tisdol around 2:30 a.m. in the direction of Main and Union Street with his hand in his pocket. Troopers asked him to remove his right hand from his pocket but he refused and attempted to run away.
A Springfield officer attempted to detain him, knocking them on the ground but Tisdol got back up and kept running. After announcing they would stun him, Tisdol then allegedly fired several rounds towards the troopers which prompted them to fire back. Trooper Cusack was holding a stun gun when Tisdol began shooting towards the officers.
Trooper Santos, using his issued firearm, shot several rounds and hit Tisdol in the upper chest area. Tisdol then turned behind a building and was found lying near a bush injured and unarmed. He was taken to Baystate Medical Center where he died from his injuries. Tisdol’s firearm was found on the sidewalk.
The entire incident was captured on body-worn cameras by State Police. Below is the body camera footage of Troopers Cusack and Trooper Santos.
Warning: Viewers discretion is advised, the videos below contain the incident in the perspective of the body-worn cameras.
“We appreciate the deliberate, thorough, and thoughtful investigation and review by District Attorney Gulluni’s Office,” State Police Colonel John Mawn Jr. stated. “We commend the professionalism and heroism of our Troopers and recognize the profound personal impact associated with the discharge of an officer’s firearm in the line of duty. We are grateful for their courage and comforted that their quick response prevented further loss of life.”
The State Police Association released the following statement on the results, “As we stated on the morning of this incident, we were confident that any investigation would result in the determination that our Troopers acted courageously while under gunfire. Anytime we must discharge our firearms it is a tragedy. We are thankful that no Troopers or members of the public were hurt. Our Troopers were faced with an armed suspect, who fired numerous rounds at our members. These Troopers, under threat to their own lives, responded exactly how they are trained to. The response by these members is a clear demonstration of the continuous professionalism exhibited by the membership of the State Police Association of Massachusetts.”