NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (AP) — A former deputy fire chief in southern Massachusetts was shot and killed by police outside a bar in Fairhaven, Mass., after drawing a weapon during a response to a call about an intoxicated man, local officials said Friday.
Paul Coderre, 55, the former interim fire chief of New Bedford, was involved in an altercation inside the bar before being seen attempting to get into a vehicle, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn told reporters. The incident took place around 4:30 p.m. and resulted in an exchange of gunfire with police from several surrounding municipalities.
The officer-involved shooting also led to an officer from the Acushnet Police Department being hit in the leg by a bullet. The injured officer was later treated and released from the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Quinn stated that the former deputy fire chief had been drinking throughout the afternoon. Police attempted to de-escalate the situation by speaking to him and using non-deadly force, including a Taser, before Coderre fired his gun, leading police to return fire and resulting in his death.
The Bristol County District Attorney’s Office will continue to investigate the case, and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell expressed grief over the fatal shooting in a social media post, emphasizing relief that the injured officer will make a full recovery.
The incident underscored the challenges faced by law enforcement in attempting to negotiate and de-escalate such situations before the use of deadly force becomes necessary. It also raised questions about the availability and use of firearms, particularly in cases involving individuals who are under the influence of alcohol or other substances. The tragedy serves as a reminder of the complex and often dangerous nature of police work, as well as the need for ongoing efforts to improve law enforcement tactics and response protocols.