BRATTLEBORO — The Vermont Attorney General's Office has ruled that a local police officer and two state troopers were justified when they shot and killed a man on July 19 after he was suspected of murdering his ex-girlfriend.
Brattleboro Officer Ryder Carbone and Vermont State Police detective sergeants Jesse Robson and Samuel Truex aimed their guns at Matthew Davis, 34, of Fitchburg, Mass., after he ran toward them with a knife, the Attorney General's Office said on Sept. 26.
The sequence of events was captured on videotape.
“Based on the facts and circumstances, the use of force by Officer Carbone and sergeants Robson and Truex was objectively reasonable and justified,” the office announced in a release.
As a result, the state won't bring charges against the three officers.
Dickson Corbett, the state's attorney for Orange County, made the same determination in his own review, which came after the Windham County State's Attorney's Office recused itself.
Police sought Davis after his ex-girlfriend, Mary Anderson, was reported missing and later found dead of a gunshot wound in her truck on Brattleboro's Elliot Street.
A Massachusetts State Police bulletin about Anderson's disappearance noted recent “concerning incidents” involving Davis. His probation record listed a criminal history that included assault to kill as well as a possible mental health breakdown earlier in the month.
After police deemed Davis “a person of interest,” a trooper saw a man matching his description walking east on Route 9 around 7:30 p.m. that same day.
Davis ran onto the adjacent Bonnyvale Road, spurring police to shut down the street and request a K-9 unit. An officer shouting “bring the dog” then saw Davis under the bridge below him “holding an object up with both hands in front of his body,” according to the release.
Officers said they told Davis to come out of the culvert with his hands visible. Davis instead reportedly told police “come get me” before running into the woods toward the nearby All Souls Church.
According to the release, the officers followed Davis while shouting “stop right there” before reaching him. Robson saw Davis holding a knife in his right hand as Carbone said “back up, back up.”
Officers then repeatedly ordered Davis to “drop it” or “put it down,” only to hear Davis reply “no” multiple times.
Robson said Truex asked, “Why did you kill her?” but did not hear a response.
According to the release, Davis ran out from behind the trees with his knife displayed and charged downhill toward police, leading to the first of several shots recorded at 7:47 p.m.
Video from an unidentified camera showed that Carbone's gun discharged three times, the attorney general's office said, while Robson and Truex fired “multiple rounds” after Davis ran in their direction with the knife.
Davis was about 8 feet from Truex and 12.6 feet from Robson when he fell after being shot, the release indicated.
Brattleboro paramedics arrived on the scene and pronounced Davis dead at 7:55 p.m.
“Under Vermont law, an officer may use deadly force to repel an imminent threat to cause death or serious bodily injury when the officer objectively and reasonably believes that a person has the present ability, opportunity, and apparent intent to immediately cause death or serious bodily injury,” the Attorney General's Office said in its release.
“A reasonable officer in the situation of Officer Carbone, Sergeant Robson, and Sergeant Truex would have concluded that there was no alternative but to use deadly force to prevent the death or serious bodily injury of Sergeants Truex or Robson,” it concluded.