LAST UPDATED: WED January 4, 2023, 17:15 Hours
Earlier today, January 4, 2023, between 13:00 and 13:30 hours multiple Cambridge Police Officers responded to a call for an emotionally disturbed person who was actively harming themselves with a bladed weapon at 254 Sidney Street in Cambridge. This address directly borders the west side of the MIT campus and is a densely populated area with student housing less than a block away.
In police radio recordings exclusively obtained by the LB617 Team, Officers can be heard dispatched to the call in which they were told a “25-year-old male” was having a “psych issue” and that he was armed with a machete and not wearing a shirt. The dispatcher also advised that the 911 caller, a 3rd party witness, reported they first saw him jump out a window and then watched the male subject slit his wrists. As Officers responded, the 911 caller continued to provide updates including that the male subject had begun to stab himself.
When Officers arrived on the scene, per the radio recordings, they found the subject in the alley behind the building, however, upon being approached by the Officers, the male subject took off running, still holding the blood-covered machete. In the recordings, Officers continue to provide updates as they continue to chase the machete-wielding man, from Sydney Street to Putnam Ave, from Putnam Ave to Waverly Street, and then from Waverly Street into the area of Fort Washington Park.
Officers continue to pursue the man, who they update still has the machete in hand. From Fort Washington Park the subject began to run along the train tracks, with police still in pursuit, an officer can be heard on the recording requesting “less lethal”, a common term used to describe tools police use such as tasers, bean bag rounds, rubber bullets, and other weapons.
The subject backtracked and returned to the area of Waverly Street near Putman Ave and then onto Chestnut Street, where officers can be heard updating their dispatcher that the suspect had the machete to his own throat. As officers follow the crazed man down Chestnut Street back towards Sydney Street he bolts into a backyard at 65 Chestnut Street, attempting to avoid officers, still armed with the bloody machete.
In the area of 59 Chestnut Street, officers were forced to engage with the suspect and discharge their weapons. Sources close to the incident with intimate knowledge tell LB617 that the male subject refused multiple, loud, and clear verbal commands and was non-compliant with verbal de-escalation attempts.
Officers were forced to discharge their ‘less lethal’ rounds with no effect on the man when he turned on the police with the weapon. Finally, officers were compelled to shoot the man approximately 3 times, in the chest, shoulder, and neck, as he rushed them with the machete still in hand. In the radio recording, it is reported that offices fired approximately 5 rounds. Officers at the scene immediately began to render aid to the man and requested Pro EMS to the location.
Pro EMS transported the subject to Massachusetts General Hospital. He was pronounced deceased at the hospital according to Cambridge Police Commissioner Elow. Law Enforcement sources on the scene tell us that the involved Officers were also transported to a local area hospital for evaluation, a standard procedure in most officer-involved shootings.
As of now, the area of the original call, chase, and shooting has all been secured by law enforcement as they begin their investigation into the incident. Members of the Cambridge Police Command Staff as well as representatives from the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police SPDU and Crime Scene Section are all on the scene. The investigation is expected to be led by the DA’s Office.
It is unknown why the department did not at first confirm the incident as an officer-involved shooting. Below are the Tweeted statements from Cambridge Police Department: