Five People In Seven Years Killed by Police in Keene Area

On April 17, one or more Keene police officers shot and killed Julio Angel DeJesus in Keene. On April 19, a professor of Criminal Justice at Keene State College told the Valley Post he expected a decision by April 21 from New Hampshire attorney general Michael Delaney on whether the shooting was justified. On May 4, a spokesman for Delaney told the Valley Post that Delaney would make a decision "in the next few weeks." The spokesman is Jeff Strelzin. His title is chief of the homicide unit at the state Department of Justice, which Delaney runs.

One or more Keene police officers shot and killed DeJesus after he allegedly was caught trying to steal from Diversified Computers Corporation on West Street in Keene. The Keene police chief said police chased DeJesus and killed him as DeJesus was trying escape in his vehicle.

On April 19, the Valley Post asked Prof. Peter Stevenson of the Criminal Justice Studies program at Keene State College if anyone was claiming that DeJesus was a threat to anyone just before he was killed. "That is the million dollar question, and I have not heard anything," Stevenson said. "I don’t know if the suspect was armed with some sort of weapon. [If he was] and if he made a furtive gesture then shooting is justified. If he used his vehicle to try to hit the officers then shooting is justified."

Thomas MacLennan lives in Keene. He just graduated from Keene State College. "It's appalling that after killing [DeJesus] the police still haven't said if he was armed," MacLennan told the Valley Post on May 4.

Strelzin said DeJesus's family lives in Massachusetts. Delaney will release the names of the family, and the name of the town or city where they live, "in the next few weeks," Strelzin said.

On February 2, 2010, a Keene police officer shot and killed a man who was using a knife to hold his ex-girlfriend hostage. The state attorney general found that the shooting was justified. Three people were killed by police in the Keene area between 2005 and 2009. The attorney general found all three killings were justified.

“It is statistically rare to have four fatal police shootings in such a short time period and in such a small area in terms of geography and population,” Stevenson told the Valley Post in 2010.

Stevenson, himself a former police officer, said there are studies that show that lives are saved in places where police departments invest in training officers in communication skills. “The studies also show that women do much better than men at using verbal skills to de-escalate these kinds of situations,” he said.

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