No charges against cops who fatally shot rampaging man with what seemed to be a real gun

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office said today that Boston Police officers acted properly and lawfully when they brought down a Dorchester man apparently hellbent on dying after an argument with his wife in November, 2007.

Marquis Barker, a Suffolk County Department of Corrections employee, grew enraged during an argument with his wife in their Fuller Street home, grabbed what turned out to be an air pistol and went on a rampage that ended when he crashed a stolen police cruiser in a Mattapan Walgreens parking lot and aimed the air pistol at an officer - three of whose fellow officers then opened fire, killing him.

In a letter to Police Commissioner Ed Davis, District Attorney Dan Conley wrote that the officers tried repeatedly to end the confrontation peacefully but that Barker seemed determine to get himself killed - he told family members he was going to kill himself and, at one point, he yelled at pursuing police officers to kill him.

In his letter, Conley writes that after running out of his home, Barker pointed the gun at a neighbor and threatened to kill him and started pointing the pistol at passing cars. When the first officers on the scene arrived and got out of their cruiser, Barker refused their orders to drop his gun and instead managed to get into the driver's seat of the cruiser and took off.

Conley writes that Barker made his way to the Walgreens on Morton Street, where he refused repeated demands to drop his gun. When he raised the pistol and aimed it at one officer, three other officers, fearing for his life, began shooting at Barker, killing him. He writes:

"Our thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the fatal shooting of Mr. Barker determined that the officers fired in self-defense after Mr. Barker ignored repeated commands to drop what he represented was a loaded gun and then raised and pointed it at a responding officer. Mr. Barker's possession and use of the gun was conclusive and undeniable, having been established by civiilian and law enforcement witnesses. I, therefore, have concluded the officers acted reasonably and lawfully and that no criminal charges are warranted."