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Man shot and killed after repeatedly ramming police station with SUV, had long history of angry confrontations with police

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Craig S. Semon

Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.

LEICESTER — Zachary M. Richardson has been identified as the man who police shot and killed after he repeatedly rammed his SUV into the front doors of the police station and then allegedly pointed a rifle at police.

Richardson is 24 and lived at 2 Trenton St. in the Cherry Valley section of Leicester. His identity was provided by the Worcester District Attorney’s Office.

Several months ago, Richardson had an angry confrontation with several police officers, in which the suspect allegedly taunted police by repeatedly swearing and calling them “pigs.”

At 6:13 a.m. Sunday, a 2008 Toyota FJ Base SUV rammed through the locked, steel double-doors of the Leicester Police Department, according to Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

“He repeatedly rammed those doors until he gained entry with his vehicle into the building,” Early said.

“There’s a ramp that goes up to it (the doors) for handicap accessibility,” Police Chief Kenneth Antanavica said. “He drove his car up that ramp and repeatedly rammed those doors…Almost the entire vehicle was into the lobby.”

Authorities on Monday identified the man as Richardson.

The dispatcher from Worcester Emergency Communication saw the incident occurring in “real time” on the surveillance video and immediately called on-duty Leicester police officers and the officers responded to the scene, Early said.

“When the officers arrived at the police station, the vehicle was in front of the door,” Early said. “The man exited the vehicle and immediately shown what appeared to be a rifle and aimed it at the police officers.”

The police officers fired and shot the suspect, Early said.

The officers rendered medical aid to the suspect at the scene. A short time later, the man was transported by ambulance to St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester and pronounced dead at the hospital, Early said.

As part of the Leicester Police Department’s policy, Antanavica said an officer involved in “a situation of this magnitude,” will be placed automatically on administrative leave.

Two officers were placed on administrative leave, Antanavica said.

No officers were shot, Early said.

A little more than six months ago, Richardson had an angry confrontation with several police officers, repeatedly swearing and calling them “pigs,” as well as making obscene gestures to one of the officers.

Richardson was arraigned in February in Western Worcester District Court in East Brookfield on the charges of two counts of leaving the scene of property damage, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and marked lanes violation, all stemming from events that unfolded Oct. 24.

He was released on personal recognizance and was due back in court for a pretrial hearing June 1.

According to the report from Officer Travis W. McCauley, officers were dispatched around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 24 to check out a vehicle driving west on Main Street, Route 9, on its rim.

Police were able to locate the vehicle due to a gouge in the roadway coming off of Main Street and going down Church Street. The vehicle ran off the roadway and into the front yard of 37 Church St. causing damage to the landscape, according to the police report.

Police were able to follow the gouge mark all the way to Richardson’s home. Police found a gray Chevrolet Tahoe, which had crashed into a picnic table on the property. The SUV had ripped up rear tires and heavy damage to the front driver’s side wheel well area, the police report states.

As Officer McCauley turned on his cruiser’s spotlight, Richardson came from the driver’s side of the vehicle, yelling “(expletive) you pig,” while gesturing with two middle fingers, according to the police report.

Sgt. Craig Guertin and Officer Frank Bulman responded to Richardson’s home. As the three officers walked towards the vehicle to investigate further, Richardson kept yelling “(expletive) pigs” and, “Get off my (expletive) property,” the police report states.

Officer McCauley detected the smell of alcohol coming from Richardson’s breath. In addition, the suspect was unsteady on his feet and slurring his words, according to the police report.

Four days later, a Boyd Street resident told Officer McCauley that his front yard was run over by Richardson during the evening of Oct. 24.

The next morning, the Boyd Street resident said he followed the gouge in the roadway left behind from the SUV right to Mr. Richardson’s driveway. This resulted in the second count of leaving the scene of property damage.

The resident told police that Richardson and his father were outside. When the resident asked what happened, the father and son told him to, “pretty much mind his own business,” according to the police report.

The resident attempted to explain that his yard was damaged, but did not get anymore comments from them, the police report states.

In addition to the charges, Officer McCauley submitted a request for immediate threat license suspension/revocation through the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

The name of the two officers put on administrative leave were not released, nor was a possible motive.

The Leicester chief said Monday morning that there was not any structural damage to the 15-year-old police station.

Antanavica said Michael J. Silva, the town’s building inspector, checked the building Sunday and declared it structurally sound.

In addition, the highway department reinforced one of the structural supports and boarded up the front doors, Antanavica said.

The insurance company is expected to check out the police station Monday and give an estimate on damages.

When visiting Richardson’s home Sunday afternoon, family members told the press to get off the property and that they had no comment.

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