After a three-hour standoff, Cambridge police officers fatally shot a man brandishing a hatchet in his East Cambridge home on Wednesday.
The standoff ended when police fired tear gas into the house, broke down the door and rushed inside. The officers opened fire on 59-year-old Daniel Furtado when he allegedly charged at them.
Furtado, a retired security guard, had a history of mental illness and had caused neighbors to call police on several previous occasions due to his strange behavior.
Neighbors noticed Furtado acting more bizarrely of late. His wife recently moved out and he had stopped taking his medication, one neighbor told the Boston Globe.
On Wednesday morning, approximately four hours before he was killed, Furtado was seen by neighbor Fay DeFrancesco entering another neighbor’s backyard, where he cut the home’s phone and cable lines. Several minutes later, he spoke with DeFrancesco’s daughter and admitted to cutting the cables. DeFrancesco notified police.
When the police arrived on the scene, Furtado retreated to his house, armed himself with a hatchet and locked himself inside, refusing to let anyone enter. When the police tried to coax him, he smashed windows and shouted taunts, neighbors told the Globe.
Approximately three-and-a-half hours later, the police’s special response team forcefully entered the house, shooting Furtado after he charged at them with a hatchet.
Many neighbors, while frightened by Furtado’s behavior, felt the situation had gotten out of hand. “Something is wrong with this,” neighbor Joe Raposo told the Globe, “I’ve gotten him out of there a bunch of times. This shouldn’t have happened.”
Cambridge Police Department officials would not comment on the rare fatal shooting, which is under investigation.
The shooting is the second time in two weeks that Boston-area police officers have shot and killed a mentally ill suspect.
—Jonathan M. Schleder contributed to the reporting of this story.