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An officer down: Manchester needs answers

Another Manchester police officer has been shot in the line of duty, and another criminal with an extensive record has been arrested for the crime. Count us unsurprised.

Myles Webster, 22, a resident of Litchfield, has been arrested for the shooting of Manchester officer Daniel Doherty. Police say Webster fired 15 shots at Doherty, who was hit five times. It is luck both that the shooter was such a bad shot and that no innocent bystander was injured or killed. It is not a matter of luck, but of an infuriatingly flawed criminal justice system, that Webster was on Manchester's streets at all.

According to news reports and court records, Webster has a record stretching back to 2006, when he was arrested for armed robbery in Litchfield. In 2008 it was an arrest for armed robbery in Manchester. In 2010 he was arrested for domestic assault and battery and, in a separate incident, unlawful possession, intoxication and disobeying a police officer. Also that year he was arrested for paying others to buy two handguns for him. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to make a false statement during the acquisition of a firearm and was sentenced to 13 months in prison and two years of probation.

Last year he walked away from a Boston halfway house and was subsequently sentenced to six months in prison last October. He got out in January, just three months after he was sentenced. Law enforcement officials also said Webster regularly failed to comply with the terms of his release.

With that kind of record, how was this guy not dealt with more severely? It is a question city residents are asking, and they deserve an answer.

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