MGM Springfield Massachusetts Deadly Shooting Will Draw No Charges, Investigation Concludes
The Massachusetts state trooper involved in a fatal shooting outside the MGM Springfield casino in February will not be charged by state prosecutors. The decision was announced last Friday by local District Attorney Anthony Gulluni.
William Tisdol, 48, was shot dead by police earlier this year after drawing his own weapon and firing first at officers just blocks from the casino. The police were initially responding to a call about a confrontation between Tisdol and another casino customer.
Investigators had access to full body cam footage, which was later released by Mass Live (warning: graphic content).
This footage helped prosecutors decide that officers were justified in their use of force on this occasion.
“He [the officer] had a duty to protect himself, he had a duty to protect his partner, and he had a duty to protect the public from Mr. Tisdol,” said Gulluni. “Criminal charges are not warranted and this investigation is closed.”
The incident began when officers responded at 2 a.m. on February 25 to reports of a confrontation on the MGM Springfield casino floor.
When they arrived, another customer explained to officers that Tisdol had threatened to shoot him over an argument about a table game. Tisdol then took off outside the casino, where he was discovered by officers walking along the street less than a block away.
When challenged, Tisdol refused to stop and ran off down Main Street. One officer unsuccessfully tackled him before Tisdol broke free and rounded a corner. Another officer then drew his taser and warned the suspect he would use it – which is when Tisdol drew his own 9mm pistol and shot at officers.
They returned fire, hitting him once in the chest, and he then stumbled into a nearby bush.
Once officers determined that Tisdol was incapacitated, they attempted first aid and called an ambulance. He was taken to the nearby Baystate Medical Center, where he died just a short while later from a single gunshot wound.
Tisdol may have run from officers because there was an active warrant for his arrest in New York, where he was wanted on firearms charges.
Tisdol’s family admitted he had a criminal past, but said he had turned his life around in recent years. His mother, Gloria Carter Vaught, was adamant that she wanted to see the footage of the incident that led to her son’s death.
“I have a right to know what exactly happened to him,” she said to New England Public Media. “I want to see all footage from the casino, from the town of Springfield, from the body cams, and from dash cams. I have a right to.”
For his part, DA Gulluni agreed. “I wanted to give them the courtesy of showing them this evidence, the video, and let them know of my decision and hear it from me directly before it was made public…. I have provided them with all of the evidence,” he said. The officers involved in the shooting have not been named.