Trooper found justified in 2015 fatal shooting of man in Cecil Co.
gun. He told investigators that Hall grabbed for the weapon and he “felt the car take off at a high rate of speed and felt his legs drag.”
“Trp. Brackett pointed his gun at Hall and just before Hall tried to reach up and grab the gun again, Trp. Brackett fired one shot and then punched out again and fired another shot,” investigators wrote in the synopsis.
Brackett said he put the car in park. He said he heard Hall’s wife yelling from behind, calling him a “murderer” and accusing him of shooting an unarmed man.
Brackett told investigators he “waited for backup to arrive before he could focus his attention on medical treatment for Hall because he was in fear and wanted the scene to be secure.”
Hall died in the parking lot. His wife could not be reached Monday.
Brackett, a trooper for nearly four years, retired from the state police in May.
“I just wasn’t able to go back to work,” he told The Baltimore Sun on Monday. “I have death threats come to me and my family. … It’s just tough, and you combine everything that’s happened to me, it’s not like you can sleep at night. It’s not like you don’t have nightmares.”
Brackett said he served six years in the Army and was deployed to Iraq in 2011. He said the shooting last year worsened his post-traumatic stress disorder.
“There’s been a lot of speculation about what I should have done,” Brackett said. “I was fighting with him for over a minute, trying to pull him out of the car, and then he launches the car and tries to slam me.” Brackett said he had no other option. “If I had a Taser, I would have used it,” he said. “It probably would have kept him alive.”
After a shooting, state police policy requires a trooper to “render aid within his level of training.”
In a review of the incident, state police Sgt. David Sexton watched security and dashboard camera footage from Brackett’s vehicle and wrote that the trooper “does not appear to provide any medical or life saving techniques at the time and it is several minutes before an off duty deputy who is an EMT arrives and assists the troopers.”
Sexton noted that Brackett can be seen “going back to Hall, who is in distress and incapacitated, and he seems to be talking to him and using his radio.”
An internal affairs investigation was conducted to determine if Brackett followed police rules and policies. The findings of that investigation are confidential under state law.
“There’s a hundred-plus people in the parking lot screaming at me,” Brackett told The Sun. “By the time it took me to secure everything and clear my weapon and move on to render aid, he had no pulse.”
Medical examiners found Hall had heroin and cocaine in his system.
Trostle, the deputy state’s attorney, said Brackett knew of the open warrant against Hall and was therefore justified in attempting to arrest him.
Trostle said the finding was based in part on a review of the dashboard camera video, the toxicology report and the fact that Hall’s DNA was found on Brackett’s gun.
“The car lunged forward approximately 6 feet, throwing Trooper Brackett off balance, and creating a clear danger to both Trooper Brackett and citizens walking in the parking lot,” Trostle wrote “It is clear that Trooper Brackett reasonably feared for his own safety, and/or the safety of citizens who were in the parking lot.”