For Immediate Release - December 22, 2008

Peabody Officer Was Justified In Shooting Of Armed Man

An investigation by State Police assigned to the Office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett has determined that a Peabody police officer was justified when he shot and killed Phillip Noto, 55, of Peabody, who had pointed a handgun at the officer and his partner during a domestic dispute. It was later determined that the handgun was a starter pistol.

On the afternoon of September 15, 2008, Officers Richard Cochran and Steven Molk were among the officers dispatched to 60 Washington Street, #2, where Noto was present at the residence of his estranged wife, in violation of a restraining order. Upon arrival the officers met Mrs. Ellen Noto, who said her husband was in a bedroom in the apartment, and that she was in fear of him.

The two officers went into the bedroom, and after conversing with Noto, told he was in violation of the restraining order and that he was about to be placed under arrest. Officer Cochran then told Noto he was going to put handcuffs on him. Noto appeared agitated and responded that he was sorry, but he did not want to be arrested.

Noto sat down on the edge of the bed, then reached to his side and abruptly stood up and aimed the dark colored pistol at the officers, yelling, "Well **** it, just kill me." Officer Molk lunged at Noto, grabbing his arm and wrist in an unsuccessful attempt to wrest the pistol away from him. Officer Cochran commanded him to drop the gun, then drew his service revolver and fired a single shot into Noto's abdomen.

Noto was transported to Salem Hospital where he underwent surgery. He died at the hospital the morning of September 19, 2008. An autopsy revealed that the cause of death was complications from a gunshot wound.

The State Police investigation has determined that the officers' statements are consistent with the physical and ballistic evidence collected at the scene, and that the officers acted appropriately in the face of a life threatening situation.