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Former Mass. deputy fire chief fatally shot after altercation inside bar

Police officers made several attempts to de-escalate the situation before former New Bedford deputy chief Paul Coderre shot one officer

By Flint McColgan
Boston Herald

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — The former New Bedford deputy fire chief was shot and killed by police outside a Fair Haven bar in an interaction that also left one officer wounded by a gunshot.

Fairhaven Police responded at around 4:30 p.m. to the Bayside Lounge on Sconticut Neck Road Friday after receiving a call that a drunk patron of the bar was physically fighting someone who was trying to prevent him from driving. When police arrived, that man had a gun on him, according to the Bristol District Attorney’s office.

“Unfortunately the individual who was reported to be intoxicated fired his weapon, fire was returned as a result of that and he was killed,” Bristol DA Thomas Quinn III summarized during a press conference near the scene of the incident.

Police identified the man as Paul Coderre, 55, of Dartmouth. Quinn confirmed to the media that Coderre was the former interim deputy New Bedford Fire Chief.

Quinn said that Coderre had been drinking for hours in the Lounge with friends when “there was an altercation inside the Lounge that led him going outside. He attempted to get into a vehicle but was stopped.”

“Police responded to the scene. He was in possession of a firearm. They attempted to speak with him and de-escalate the situation,” Quinn said. “Several attempts were made to use non-deadly force to subdue him, including the use of a taser. Those attempts were not successful.”

Quinn said that Quinn fired at police, which was an assembly of local Fairhaven officers as well as those from the nearby departments at Acushnet and Mattapoiset who had come due to mutual aid agreements.

An Acushnet officer was shot in the leg. In response, an officer returned fire, striking and killing Coderre.

The injured officer, who has not been identified, was transported from the scene to Saint Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, where he was treated and later released.

“This again highlights the dangers that police officers face every day while responding to these types of situations, especially for the potential for violence, individuals in possession of firearms, it certainly puts their lives in danger,” Quinn said.

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