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Northwestern DA Findings in Fatal July 2013 Shooting

Northwestern DA Findings in Fatal July 2013 Shooting

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Published by Patrick Johnson
Northwestern DA David Sullivan releases report on investigation into fatal State Police shooting in Orange.
Northwestern DA David Sullivan releases report on investigation into fatal State Police shooting in Orange.

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Published by: Patrick Johnson on Oct 17, 2013
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07/05/2014

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DISTRICT ATTORNEY'S FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
REGARDING THE JULY 3, 2013 POLICE-INVOLVED
FATAL SHOOTING OF COREY J. NAVARRETE
IN ORANGE, MA
INTRODUCTION
The following report details the facts and circumstances surrounding the fatalshooting of Corey J. Navarrete (DOB 11/28/89) on July 3, 2013, by Massachusetts StatePolice Trooper Michael H. Baker, and the legal conclusions drawn therefrom. Pursuantto G.L. c. 38, § 4, "[t]he district attorney or his law enforcement representative shalldirect and control the investigation" into any death occurring within 19 specifically-enumerated circumstances set forth in G.L. c. 38, § 3, including but not limited tosuspicious or accidental deaths, suicides, and homicides. The lead law enforcementinvestigator in this case was Detective Lieutenant Robin A. Whitney, Commander of theMassachusetts State Police Detectives Unit assigned to the Northwestern DistrictAttorney's Office. First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne directed theinvestigation on behalf of District Attorney David E. Sullivan.As set forth below in greater detail and explanation, the Northwestern DistrictAttorney's Office has concluded that Trooper Baker was justified in employing deadlyforce against Navarrete, and that he did so in the proper exercise of self-defense anddefense of his fellow law enforcement officers. Navarrete's death therefore constitutes ajustifiable homicide, and no criminal charges are warranted.
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FACTUAL SUMMARY'
I.
ackground
On July 2, 2013, Athol Police Officer Janet Mousseau (hereinafter "Mousseau")
submitted an application to the Orange District Court for a search warrant for the second-
floor apartment at 18 Mechanic Street in Orange, Massachusetts. Mousseau, a fourteen-
year veteran of the Athol Police Department, applied for the warrant as a member of the
Northwestern District Attorney's Office's Anti-Crime Task Force, a multi jurisdictional
coalition formed in 2013 to combat illegal drug distribution in Hampshire and Franklin
Counties and the town of Athol. Mousseau's application capped a month-long Task
Force investigation into the illegal distribution of oxycodone and Percocet out of thesecond-floor apartment at 18 Mechanic Street in Orange by its occupants, Corey J.Navarrete (hereinafter "Navarrete") and his girlfriend, Jessica Dennis-Ramirez(hereinafter "Dennis-Ramirez").During the investigation, law enforcement utilized a confidential informant toconduct three controlled purchases of oxycodone and/or Percocet from Dennis-Ramirez
and Navarrete. On all three occasions, the informant arranged the purchase by firstcalling Dennis-Ramirez on her (i.e., Jessica's) cell phone. Two of the purchases took
place inside the second-floor apartment at 18 Mechanic Street, and the third took place a
short distance from the apartment. On all three occasions, Navarrete personally
exchanged pills-for-cash with the informant.Two additional informants provided law enforcement with information regardingNavarrete and Dennis-Ramirez during the investigation. One reported that Navarreteowned a handgun and claimed "he could shoot anyone that comes in the house as long as
it is in the arm or leg and he wouldn't get in trouble for it." Police confirmed that
Navarrete in fact held an active Class A license to carry firearms, and had purchasedthree firearms in early 2011: a .40 caliber pistol, a 9mm handgun, and a 5.56 caliber Stag
Arms STAG-15 semi-automatic rifle. The other informant advised police that Dennis-
1
This factual summary is compiled from the totality of investigative materials gatheredthroughout the course of the investigation, and includes only the most pertinent facts of the case.It is not intended to be a comprehensive statement of all of the facts of this case.
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Ramirez and Navarrete were selling "a ton of percs" and that Navarrete "has a gun and
isn't afraid to use it."
2
Based on this information, Mousseau requested permission to search Navarreteand Dennis-Ramirez's apartment for oxycodone, Percocet, drug paraphernalia and related
evidence. Mousseau sought judicial authorization to execute the warrant during
nighttime hours, and to dispense with the ordinary "knock-and-announce" requirement
when executing a search warrant at a residence. In justification of these requests, he
stated the following:
Based upon my training and experience, I know that a
firearm is a commodity that is held onto and kept readily
accessible for protection. I also know that drug dealers
commonly arm themselves to prevent robberies of their
product and proceeds from rival drug dealers or from
buyers. I also know that sometimes drug dealers, if
given the opportunity, will arm themselves against the
police who are executing search warrants.
[A] No Knock Search Warrant... would allow the
officers executing the search warrant the ability to makea safe, swift entry and prevent anyone inside the premise
[from having] the time to arm themselves and fire at the
Officers. This request would also prevent suspect(s),
should they so choose, from firing a weapon and
injuring a civilian in another part of the residence
and/or other residences nearby.
The cover of darkness maximizes the abilities of policeofficers to approach a premises without being detected.
This in turn means that when search warrants are
executed, the drug distributors are less likely to have an
opportunity to jeopardize police officer safety or...
destroy drugs kept for sale. I have viewed the target
location involved in this investigation and I have found
that it has windows which overlook entry doors,
walkways and roadways approaching the premises
which must be used by police officers to gain entry to
said premises. Because of this, the ability of the
occupants to detect police officers approach is made
more likely as is it more likely that they can prepare to
2
Although not known to officers prior to executing the search warrant, their investigation wouldlater reveal that on multiple occasions, neighbors had heard gunshots coming from withinNavarrete and Dennis-Ramirez's second-floor apartment.
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