A police officer who shot and killed a man who gunned down two Black people moments earlier in Winthrop in 2021 used reasonable force to defend himself and others and won't face criminal charges, Suffolk District Attorney Kevin Hayden said Tuesday.
Nathan Allen, 28, shot and killed David Green, a retired Massachusetts State Police trooper, and Romana Cooper, an Air Force veteran, after emerging from a stolen truck that he had crashed into a building in the community near Logan International Airport, authorities said.
Officials described Green and Cooper as innocent bystanders. Allen was fatally shot by Winthrop Police Sgt. Nicholas Bettano.
“Our investigation makes clear that the officer’s actions were justified that tragic day. Indeed, it is likely that this officer’s brave actions saved others from being injured or killed as a result of Nathan Allen’s racially-motivated rampage," Hayden said in a written statement.
"This was a terrifying incident for Winthrop, rooted in Nathan Allen’s deep White Supremacist hatred. Winthrop leaders and residents deserve great credit for how they have moved to heal the wounds from that tragic day,” he added.
Hayden said that on June 26, 2021, Bettano responded to a report of an active shooter, according to a report released Tuesday. Before Bettano arrived at the location, Allen had already shot Green and Cooper using a 9 mm Smith & Wesson. Allen had no criminal history, had a firearms license and owned three guns, police said.
Allen was initially spotted barefoot and captured on surveillance footage walking near a cemetery and onto a school baseball field, according to investigators. He then stole a box truck and ultimately hit another car as well as a small building, officials said.
Allen got into another car and exited moments later. He approached Cooper, 60, fatally shooting her several times at point blank range, before running through an alley where he fired several rounds at Green, killing him and throwing away the empty gun.
He took out another loaded gun and aimed it at three occupants of a car but did not shoot. At that time Bettano arrived on the scene, was able to move other bystanders out of danger and told Allen to put down his gun. When he refused and lifted his gun, Bettano shot him four times, investigators said.
At Allen's home, police found hundreds of rounds of ammunition and several books by Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski. They also found journals containing hand-drawn swastikas and writings about anarchy and white supremacy, according to investigators.
Police released pages from Allen’s notebook, in which he praised “the white race as superior” and referred to Black people in harshly racist terms, at one point stating “racism is healthy and natural.”
In the wake of the shooting, family and friends gathered to mourn Green and Cooper, who were remembered as a respected state trooper and beloved Air Force vet.
The 68-year-old Green retired from state police in 2016 and worked in law enforcement for nearly 40 years, state police officials said at the time of the shooting.
Allen had obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth in 2014 and a doctorate in physical therapy from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions in 2021, investigators said. He had lived in Winthrop, Massachusetts with his wife.