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Providence officer cleared

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  • Providence officer cleared

    Officer found ‘justified’ in shooting man who had bayonet

    07:57 AM EDT on Saturday, August 30, 2008

    By Michael McKinney

    Projo.com staff writer

    PROVIDENCE — A grand jury has found that the actions of a Providence police officer who shot a man who was stabbing a woman with a bayonet were “lawful and legally justified,” according to state Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch’s office.

    The grand jury therefore did not return an indictment against Patrolman John S. Abatiello, Lynch’s office said in a news release yesterday.

    Last month, Abatiello went into the couple’s locked bedroom in a South Providence apartment and, with his pistol drawn, ordered Eddy Tiburcio to drop his weapon. But Tiburcio instead raised the bayonet higher in a threatening manner, police said, and Abatiello shot him once in the chest.

    The woman, Niurka Moronta, suffered stab wounds to her right shoulder and right thigh and bruises to her left eye and head, and was treated at Rhode Island Hospital, according to the police.

    The couple were the parents of three boys, ages 3, 4 and 7, with whom they lived in an apartment in a duplex at 25 Pennsylvania Ave., the police said last month.

    On the morning of July 28, according to the police, a 911 call came in and the police and fire department responded to the address. No one came to the door, and the police and fire personnel left.

    The police said investigators learned later that Tiburcio had intimidated members of the household so that they did not answer the door. Someone called 911 again, at about 7:40 a.m., and hung up.

    Abatiello was sent at 7:44 a.m. He knocked and the door was answered by three distressed young boys, one of whom had blood on him, according to the police. Moronta had called out to her boys to let the police in this time.

    The officer heard a man yelling and a woman screaming in a bedroom down the hall and he called for backup assistance, according to the police. He went to the bedroom door, identified himself, banged on the door and demanded to be let in. There was no response and the woman’s screams grew more intense. Abatiello forced open the door and saw a bleeding woman lying on her back on a bed, with a man kneeling on the bed above her, according to the police.

    The officer drew his gun and repeatedly told the suspect to drop the bayonet, a police statement last month said, but the suspect raised the bayonet higher in a threatening way. The police said the officer believed the suspect was about to stab the woman again, and fired one shot.

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