SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni announced Friday the findings of his investigation into an officer-involved shooting in Springfield that killed a 23 year-old man.
According to a news release sent to 22News by Gulluni’s office, the District Attorney has concluded that Officer Arjel Falcon’s use of deadly force on 23-year-old Orlando Taylor was a “necessary use of lethal force.” Gulluni says all evidence presented to the district attorney’s office clearly show shooting Taylor was an unavoidable last resort.
“The death of Orlando Taylor, III is an unmistakable tragedy. Yet, the role of this office is to find and consider the facts, as established by the undisputed evidence, and apply the relevant law. This report finds that Officer Falcon’s decision to fire his weapon twice at Mr. Taylor under the foregoing circumstances constitutes a lawful and reasonable exercise of self-defense and defense of others. Accordingly, criminal charges are not warranted and this investigation is closed,” said DA Gulluni.
Criminal charges will not be warranted and Gulluni says the investigation is closed.
On Friday afternoon, the family of Orlando Taylor talked to 22News following the DA’s findings. They said they don’t agree with the DA’s assessment that force was reasonable and unavoidable. However, they said they accept the findings.
“We have to come together as a community and put these things in perspective.. and umm, I’m almost lost for words,” said Earlene Taylor, the grandmother to Orlando.
“The main issue will be and is mental healthiness and it’s 2022. You definitely could find other ways to handle situations like that,” said Orlando’s brother.
The family hopes this incident will help raise awareness for mental health in the Black community. They believe this could have been avoided if Taylor had proper mental health services available to him. They would also like to see the Springfield Police Department provide better training for mental health.
The spokesperson to the family said they’re glad the DA’s office released the police bodycam footage. They feel the public needs to see what happened.
Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood released a statement following Gulluni’s announcement.
“We wish to express our appreciation to Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and his office for their comprehensive and deliberative investigation into the facts and circumstances of the incident that occurred on Jan. 9,” said Clapprood. “Our officers were faced that morning with a dangerous, rapidly evolving situation, during which an officer had already been stabbed, and the investigation has determined that Officer Arjel Falcon responded lawfully and appropriately, consistent with his training and experience, in this circumstance. I am thankful that Officer Falcon was not more seriously injured, and wish him well as he continues to recover.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno released the following statement after Gulluni held a news conference Friday afternoon, “First of all, Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and I again express our thoughts and prayers to the grieving family, as well as good health, a speedy recovery and encouragement to our brave and dedicated police officer on his surgery. Commissioner Clapprood and I want to thank District Attorney Anthony Gulluni for his quick response in releasing the body-worn camera video. The City’s intent was always for this body-worn camera video to be released to the public to show what actually happened in order to dispel any false narrative. We also thank District Attorney Gulluni for his conclusion in resolving this matter. As Commissioner Clapprood, myself, incoming City Solicitor Judge John Payne and City Solicitor Ed Pikula had previously stated, the body-worn camera video speaks for itself and the release allows for the transparency that the city had wanted and is in accordance with the Department of Justice approved policy.”
Springfield Police said they were called to the Liberty Heights neighborhood on Sunday, January 9 for a report of a man pulling a knife on another person. When police found 23-year-old Orlando Taylor, they said he stabbed Officer Falcon in the face. Falcon then shot his firearm twice at Orlando, who was charging at him again. Taylor later died at Baystate Medical Center.