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As family speaks out, Hampden DA to investigate fatal shooting by a Springfield police officer

Earlene Victoria Taylor describes what she saw when Springfield police shot and killed her grandson, Orlando Taylor, outside her Genesee Street home.
Don Treeger
The Republican / MassLive
Earlene Victoria Taylor describes what she saw when Springfield police shot and killed her grandson, Orlando Taylor, outside her Genesee Street home.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni's office said Monday it will "move expeditiously" to conduct a "thorough, fair, and transparent" investigation into the fatal shooting Sunday of a Springfield, Massachusetts, man by a city police officer.

The DA's office identified the deceased as Orlando Taylor, 23.

"The investigation will rely on nationally-recognized best practices for conducting an impartial and transparent investigation into what led to a police officer’s use of deadly force, resulting in a death," the office said. "The District Attorney will determine whether the use of force was appropriate, and whether criminal charges are warranted."

At a press conference Sunday a few hours after the incident, Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said the officer fired two shots at Taylor after he stabbed the officer in the face and neck.

Mayor Domenic Sarno, while noting Gulluni's office will investigate, said Sunday he reviewed video footage of the incident and believed the use of force was "justified."

Some members of Taylor's family spoke to reporters Monday and said he suffered from mental illness.

His grandmother, Earlene Victoria Taylor, told The Republican that she witnessed the altercation from her porch and believed officers could have used a Taser or retreated until more assistance arrived.

“I pleaded with the police officer not to shoot my grandson, not to shoot him because he has mental illness,” Earlene Taylor said, according the paper. “I don’t understand why they had to shoot him.”

The district attorney's office said it has been in contact with Taylor's family "through a representative and will meet separately with the family to review the events."

Police said the incident was captured on body cameras worn by the officer and his partner, as well as video from a neighbor. The videos have not yet been released to the public or media.

The officer suffered serious but non-life-threatening wounds to his face and neck, according to police. He was treated at Baystate Medical Center and released Monday. A police spokesperson, Ryan Walsh, said the officer requires follow-up treatment in Boston.

Police have not released the officer's name, but Walsh said he has been with the department for nine years, following a military career.

"He has received numerous accolades for life saving measures," Walsh said in a text.

According to Walsh, this is the first fatal shooting by a Springfield officer since 2014.

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