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DA: Malden, Saugus cops justified in fatal shooting of bank robber

The district attorney said at one point the robber used a woman as a human shield as he shot at police.

The three police officers who fired at a man fleeing from robbing a Saugus bank were justified in killing him.

In a statement released today, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone's office detailed the dramatic pursuit of the robber by police from Malden and Saugus and the multiple exchanges of gunfire as citizens were nearby.

But, Leone's office said, "based upon the facts presented ... it is determined that the officers were in imminent danger of being shot by (the robber) and that if he was not apprehended, (he) posed an immediate danger of killing or seriously injuring others."

The incident that started about 5 p.m. March 23 at the Saugus Bank in Saugus when William Ekasala and Michael Ginnetti robbed the bank wearing masks, body armor and carrying guns, authorities said.

They fled toward Malden with $4,900 and in a car driven by Gabriel Megna, authorities said.

Ginnetti and Megna were eventually caught by police.

However, Ekasala continued to flea and repeatedly carjacked people. He carjacked three cars while officers chased him, authorities said. During one of the carjackings, he forced a mother and her 5-month-old child out of the car while showing his gun.

During the second carjacking, Ekasala used a woman as a human shield as police caught up to him and he fired at officers. The woman was able to free herself and officers returned fire, missing him.

Police caught up with Ekasala again as he was fleeing in a third car and started driving it toward an officer. That Malden officer, along with another Malden officer and a Saugus officer all fired at Ekasala. The car eventually stopped and police found Ekasala with a gunshot wound to the forehead.

Leone's office have now turned the case over to the local police departments.

 
 
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