Boston Deputy Police Superintendent Robert E. O’Toole Jr., who commanded the unit that fired the shot that killed an Emerson College student last week, fired a pepper-pellet gun four times that night, but did not fire the fatal shot that struck 21-year-old Victoria Snelgrove, his attorney told the Boston Globe. Disputing an account in yesterday’s Globe, Timothy M. Burke said his client was trained to use the weapon.
Police sources and a person involved in the investigation into Snelgrove’s death have told the Globe that Robert O’Toole was not trained to use the weapon. Burke said his client was trained to use the gun and fired it “at least 10 times” when he attended a five-day civil disturbance seminar in Ithaca, N.Y., prior to the Democratic National Convention in July. The lawyer said a group of Boston police officers who attended the seminar were instructed on how to use an array of less-lethal weapons, including the Herstal FN303 pepper-pellet gun, the weapon used last Thursday by O’Toole and at least two other members of the special operations unit he heads.