A 24-year-old New Bedford man who shot a New Bedford Police officer during the execution of a search warrant at his home in 2014 was convicted in Fall River Superior Court yesterday and sentenced to serve up to nine years in state prison, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.
Nathan Manuel-Jackson pleaded guilty yesterday to a multi-count indictment charging him with armed assault with intent to murder and possession of an illegal firearm.
In early 2014, members of the New Bedford Police Department were conducting a narcotics investigation into another individual, who was believed to be conducting a cocaine distribution operation out of Mr. Manuel-Jackson’s apartment.
Sgt. Jonathan Lagoa set up surveillance on the address on the night of January 24th and saw the target of the investigation arrive in a tan Cadillac and enter the building through the rear porch.
At approximately 11:15 pm, police entered the common hallway and stairway leading to the second floor apartment. Police were aware of knives in the apartment and a locking mechanisms at the rear door. As police began to ram the door, officers heard "cops, cops".
Sgt. Lagoa was in front of the door as gunshots came from the apartment. Sgt. Lagoa turned and attempted to push the officers behind him down the stairwell. He then felt a sharp pain and burning in his arm and chest, and realized he was shot. He then fell down multiple stairs. Other detectives then immediately transported Sgt. Lagoa to St. Luke's Hospital, from where he is then transferred to Rhode Island Hospital.
Remaining detectives continue to try to gain entry, however, the door was barricaded from the inside.
The defendant then advised police that he would open the door and surrender.
Four other individuals within the apartment, three males and one female, with one of the males being the target, were then secured. A subsequent search of the apartment resulted in the seizure of four .380 caliber shell casings in the front living room in front of the entry door.
The door, which was solid wood, had 4 holes similar in size to the casings clustered approximately four to five feet high. Three spent projectiles were found lodged within the wall and ceiling of the stairwell leading to the apartment that police were in at the time of the shooting.
When secured, none of the persons had weapons. A search of the apartment for the firearm led police to one of two bedrooms in the apartment where there was a large hole in the plaster wall.
A camera probe was inserted into the hole and a gun was observed at the bottom of the channel. The wallboard was removed and a Kal-tec P3 .380 caliber was recovered. Only a small amount of marijuana was recovered with no other contraband located.
The defendant told police that he heard the banging on the door and shot through the door four times.
The defendant stated that he thought they were being robbed again and told police that a week prior, their door had been kicked in and he was pistol whipped and robbed at gunpoint.
That incident was not reported to authorities at the time.
Sgt. Lagoa was treated and observed at Rhode Island Hospital, but was later released without surgery
Judge Raffi Yessayan sentenced the defendant to serve seven-and-a-half years to nine years in state prison, to be followed by six months of home confinement. Upon his release from prison, the defendant will also be on probation for two years.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Robert DiGiantomaso.
“This case highlights the dangers that police face every day, especially when executing search warrants. But for the grace of god, Sgt. Lagoa could have been killed and other officers seriously injured,” District Attorney Quinn said. “The sentence recommendation in this case was discussed several times with Sgt. Lagoa. It took into account the very serious nature of the crime and the defendant’s lack of criminal record. I have nothing but admiration for Sgt. Lagoa’s fairness and humanity towards the defendant.”