By Scott Malone
BOSTON (Reuters) – A Boston police officer who was shot in the face by a man during a traffic stop in an incident that set off a twilight gunfight in the city is expected to recover, Police Commissioner William Evans told reporters on Saturday.
The officer, six-year department veteran John Moynihan, was shot just below the eye on Friday night by a 41-year-old man identified as Angelo West. Fellow officers returned fire and West, who had a criminal record including prior gun charges, died of wounds at the scene.
The shooting, which took place around 6:40 p.m. on Friday, started as a traffic stop when two marked police cruisers containing six officers pulled a car over after reports of shots fired in the Roxbury neighborhood.
As the driver got out of the car, without warning he shot Moynihan, a 34-year-old former U.S. Army Ranger, in the face, Evans said, citing videos taken of the incident. Moynihan, who was being treated at Boston Medical Center, still has the bullet lodged under his ear, Evans added.
“He’s a fighter, he’s going to pull through,” Evans said of Moynihan.
Local prosecutors will investigate the shooting to ensure that Moynihan followed departmental procedures throughout the incident, said Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Connolly.
“It’s going to be completely transparent,” Connolly said of the review, which he added would be shared with West’s family and lawyers once it is complete.
Over the past year the United States has seen waves of sometimes violent protests after unarmed black men were killed by white police officers, including in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York.
Evans alluded to those concerns, but stressed that West set off Friday’s gunfight.
“It was a really violent confrontation that was clearly unprovoked by our officers,” Evans told reporters at Boston Police headquarters.
A third person, a woman, also suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound during the incident, Evans said.
(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Stephen Powell)