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Valet Shot Outside Brigham And Women's Hospital Was Hit By Boston Police Gunfire

BOSTON (CBS) – The valet wounded in a chaotic incident outside Brigham and Women's Hospital earlier this month was shot by Boston Police, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said Tuesday.

Rollins made the announcement at a news conference, releasing the preliminary results of the investigation into the February 7 shooting that left the 49-year-old valet with a serious eye wound.

That morning, Boston Police received a 911 call for a man with a weapon on Fenwood Road near the hospital. Rollins said 41-year-old Juston Root first threatened one security guard and, about a minute later, he again pulled the weapon and chased two other guards.

When Boston Police officers arrived, Rollins said they encountered a "hectic scene." She said an officer identified only as "Officer 1" saw a gun in Root's waistband.

Root allegedly removed the weapon, pointed it and began to pull the trigger. That's when Rollins said Officer 1 fired several shots and a second officer who witnessed the encounter discharged his weapon.

Brigham and Women's shooting
Surveillance video of police confronting Juston Root outside Brigham and Women's Hospital on February 7, 2020. (Suffolk District Attorney's office)

During the exchange, the valet, whose name has not been made public, was shot in the head, Rollins revealed Tuesday that he was wounded in the eye, suffering a detached retina. The valet was discharged from the hospital 12 days later on February 19 and is still recovering.

A short time after the initial exchange, Root was shot and killed by police in Chestnut Hill following a wild chase.

Investigators eventually determined it was a police officer's bullet that ricocheted off something and hit then valet when they learned Root's weapon was not a functioning gun, but a replica gun. Rollins said the event was "traumatic for many" and responding officers were on alert during a "tense and escalating potential active shooter situation."

During the news conference Tuesday, Rollins played a surveillance video clip of the exchange police had with Root.

Juston Root
Juston Root (Family photo)

Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said the chaotic scene unfolded quickly.

"Things happen within a matter of seconds," Gross told reporters. "I can honestly tell you it is not the intent of any police officer when they start their tour of duty to go out and be involved in officer-involved shootings that may involve a fatality. We're human too. Quite frankly, you can see that officer was definitely in fear of his life."

Root had a history of mental health and substance abuse issues and was charged with assaulting police officers in 2013.

District Attorney Rachael Rollins on Brigham and Women's Shooting

The Root family released a statement, saying: "On Behalf of our Family, we want to express our appreciation for the Suffolk County District Attorney Rachel Rollins and her office for making it clear at their press conference today that Juston did not have a real gun; and he did not shoot anyone. This is an ongoing investigation, our family hopes to find some peace when we know what happened before, during and after these incidents. This could take several months, we request our privacy during this difficult time of mourning."

Rollins did not comment on the fatal officer-involved shooting in Chestnut Hill because it took place in Norfolk County. Final determinations about the Boston shooting may not be made for months, Rollins said.

Brigham Health president Betsy Nabel issued a statement following the press conference.

"On behalf of our Brigham family, I want to thank the many members of law enforcement who responded to our campus on Feb. 7. We are immensely grateful for their commitment to protect and serve our community," said Nabel.


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