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Shooting suicidal man who pointed unloaded revolver at Nashua officer was justified, says AG

New Hampshire Union Leader

August 25. 2018 9:57AM
Justin Contreras, 29, pictured, allegedly pointed an unloaded revolver at police seconds before being shot by Officer James Ciulla. 

CONCORD — The state Attorney General’s office has cleared Nashua police of wrongdoing in the shooting of a Nashua man June 26.

Justin Contreras, 29, allegedly pointed an unloaded revolver at police seconds before being shot by officer James Ciulla.

Contreras survived but the shooting was considered “use of deadly force” under the law and triggered the investigation by the attorney general and State Police Major Crime Unit into whether the shooting was justified.

“After a review of evidence gathered during the course of the investigation, the Attorney General has determined that Officer Ciulla’s shooting of Justin Contreras was a legally justified use of deadly force,” according to the statement issued Friday.

Police responded to Contreras’ residence at 106 Ledge St. after his mother reported her son had threatened suicide.

According to the attorney general’s report, Ciulla, along with officers Guido Marchionda and Kyle Crosson, responded to conduct a welfare check.

Contreras lived in the second-floor apartment above his mother’s unit at the same address. While inside a staircase foyer in the building, Ciulla encountered Contreras, who was holding a revolver, according to the Attorney General’s office.

Ciulla, who did not know the revolver was not loaded, fired three shots at Contreras, who was hit twice — once in his lower right arm and once in his front torso near the collarbone.

No one else was injured during the encounter and no one fired a weapon other than Ciulla.

Police provided medical treatment to Contreras following the shooting.

After being released from the hospital, Contreras eventually was arrested and charged with a felony count of criminal threatening for allegedly pointing a firearm at a police officer.

He currently is free on bail.

Public Safety Nashua

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