Massachusetts State Police Cleared 57 Of 67 Homicides In 2016
Jan 17, 2017 05:27AM
By Theresa Gilman
State Police msp
(Editor's Note: this content was provided by the Massachusetts State Police.)
Massachusetts State Police detectives led investigations into 67 homicides in 2016, solving 57 of them for an 87 percent clearance rate.
As in past years, the homicides investigated by State Police ranged from street violence and outdoor shootings in urban areas to killings in suburban and rural settings. Thirteen of the homicides (19 percent) were domestic in nature.
State Police detectives attached to the state’s district attorneys investigate homicides, with the assistance of local police, in every city and town in the state except for Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield generally, and investigate homicides on state property in every community in the state.
Of the 57 cleared 2016 homicides, MSP detectives working with local police partners made arrests in 51 of them. Of the other six cleared homicides, four were murder-suicides in which the suspects took their own lives; one involved the death of the identified suspect from natural causes; and the sixth was the Taunton mall attack, in which the assailant killed two people before he was fatally shot by an off-duty law enforcement officer who ended the threat.
Thirty-three of the 2016 homicides investigated by State Police were shooting deaths; 16 were stabbings. The remaining homicides were by other manner, including blunt trauma and strangulation.
Colonel Richard D. McKeon attributed the high clearance rate to the tenacity and skill of MSP investigators and their local police counterparts, the assistance of MSP gang and narcotics units that provide valuable intelligence, and advanced forensic analysis by the internationally-accredited State Police Laboratory.
“Our goal is not just to clear homicides for the sake of a statistic, but rather, to follow the facts and evidence to identify the person responsible, build strong cases that stand up in court, and to speak for victims who can no longer speak for themselves and provide some sense of justice to their loved ones,” McKeon said.
State Police led investigations into 69 homicides in 2015.
Also in 2016, State Police homicide detectives responded to 877 unattended deaths across the state that were suspected heroin overdoses. As with homicides, MSP detectives respond to unattended deaths, along with their local police counterparts, in every locale in Massachusetts except Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Pittsfield, and to unattended deaths on state property in those cities.
Those 877 deaths were classified as suspected heroin overdoses based on physical evidence recovered at the scene, observations of the victim, and statements by friends or family members of the victims. Final cause of death was subject to toxicology testing by the medical examiner.
In 2015 State Police responded to 756 unattended deaths suspected as heroin overdoses.