Police Shoot And Kill Man Who Drove SUV Into Leicester Police Station, State Investigating

A man was fatally shot by police in the small town of Leicester early Sunday morning after he drove his SUV through the front doors of the Leicester police station, got out of the vehicle, and aimed what appeared to be a rifle at officers who responded to the scene, law enforcement authorities say.

A spokesman for the Worcester County District Attorney identified the man on Monday as 24-year-old Zachary Richardson, of Leicester.

Photos of the scene taken by a photographer for the Telegram & Gazette show a silver Toyota FJ Cruiser facing the front entrance of the building, with its double doors bashed in and debris strewn around the opening which leads to the lobby. Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. said Massachusetts State Police are investigating.

Around 6:13 a.m., he said, an emergency dispatcher saw, through a security camera feed, a truck repeatedly ramming the entrance of the Leicester police station. At one point, the vehicle broke through the doors. The dispatcher directed on-duty officers and emergency medical personnel to the scene.

"When the officers arrived at the police station, the vehicle was in front of the door," Early said. "The man exited the vehicle and immediately shouldered what appeared to be a rifle and aimed it at the police officers." Two officers responded by shooting the man, he said, then rendering medical aid. Emergency medical technicians arrived shortly after, transferring Richardson to Saint Vincent Hospital in Worcester where he was pronounced dead.

Early declined to speculate on a possible motive, citing the state's investigation. He did say, however, that Richardson had a June 1 trial date in East Brookfield District Court over an alleged traffic violation.

The confrontation was captured on video, but Early said footage will not immediately be released to the public.

“We’ve just got to slow down, let the experts take a look at that, and then everything will be thoroughly reviewed,” he said.

"At face value, this appears to be an isolated incident," said Kenneth Antanavica, Leicester's police chief. "There appears to be no danger to the public at this time."

No other injuries were reported. The two officers involved in the shooting were not hurt and have been automatically placed on administrative leave, Antanavica said, in keeping with a department policy pertaining to officers "involved in a situation of this magnitude."

This article was originally published on May 09, 2021.

Adrian Ma Twitter Reporter
Adrian Ma is a reporter for WBUR's Bostonomix team.