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Probe Justifies Shooting by Mass. Police

March 10, 2006

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (AP) _ Two police officers were justified in shooting and killing a teenage robbery suspect this year as he drove toward them, an investigation determined.

Prosecutor Timothy Cruz, who issued the report Thursday, said the officers fired at the car driven by Anthony McGrath, 16, only after he ignored orders to stop. The officers chased him through downtown early Jan. 10 after he allegedly broke into a store.

An autopsy found that McGrath’s blood-alcohol level was 0.04 percent, above the 0.02 percent level at which a minor can be prosecuted for driving under the influence, Cruz said.

A six-week investigation concluded the officers _ Edwin Almeida and Richard Tavares _ had reason to believe their lives were in immediate danger. One officer was in the car’s path when it began to accelerate, the investigation found.

One bullet penetrated McGrath’s heart and lung, and a second hit his arm, the autopsy found.

Almeida and Tavares, who had been placed on paid leave, may return to their jobs.

No one answered at a phone listing Thursday for McGrath’s mother, who had expressed outrage after the shooting.

``Tony wasn’t trying to run anyone over,″ she had said. ``He was trying to get away. He didn’t have it in him to try to hurt anyone. He was a kid.″

Plymouth is about 40 miles south of Boston.

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