INCIDENT AT 120 MELVILLE STREET
After receiving the complaint from Mr. Harden’s girlfriend and documenting her injuries, the two Fall River police officers made their way to 120 Melville Street to arrest Mr. Harden. At 6:05:29 PM, the male officer radioed that he and the female officer were heading to 120 Melville Street (Radio Call @ 18:05:29). Prior to this date, neither police officer was familiar with Mr. Harden or 120 Melville Street. At 6:14:35 PM, a surveillance camera outside of 120 Melville Street recorded the arrival of the officers.(Surveillance Video Still 1, Surveillance Video 1) Within seconds of their arrival, the male officer radioed that he and the female officer had arrived at 120 Melville Street (Radio Call @ 18:14:28). The police officers knocked on the front door of the residence and spoke with the owner of the building. The officers told him the purpose of their visit. The owner secured a dog and let the two police officers into the building. The owner directed the officers to Mr. Harden’s room.
The police officers made their way to Mr. Harden’s room. It had no door on it. The room was a small, cluttered bedroom with numerous items on a desk/table and the floor (Scene Photo 1, Scene Photo 2, Scene Photo 3, Scene Photo 4, Scene Photo 5, Scene Photo 6, Scene Photo 7, Scene Photo 8). The male police officer knocked on the frame of the door and announced his presence. Mr. Harden was sitting with the small desk/table in front of him. The male police officer told Mr. Harden that he needed to speak with the police. Mr. Harden indicated that he knew why the police were there and that they needed to see a cell phone video. The male police officer again asked Mr. Harden to step outside and talk with him. Mr. Harden responded that he was charging his bracelet and that he was not coming with the police. The male police officer saw that Mr. Harden’s emotional state was escalating and he believed that Mr. Harden was not willing to cooperate with the officers. The male officer told Mr. Harden that he was going to be placed under arrest and the male officer began to undo the button on his belt to release his handcuffs. While this conversation was occurring, both police officers were inside Mr. Harden’s room standing against a wall by his doorway. The male officer was approximately 4 and a half to 6 feet away from Mr. Harden. The female officer was standing to right of the male officer.
At this point, Mr. Harden reached toward the desk/table and grabbed an item with his right hand. The male police officer did not see what Mr. Harden grabbed. The female police officer saw that the item was metallic and pointed. She believed that it was a knife. After grabbing this item, Mr. Harden turned his body toward the male officer, sprang to his feet and quickly moved towards the male police officer. Both officers described that Mr. Harden raised his right hand above his head and came down at the male police officer’s head and neck area. The male police officer was able to thwart Mr. Harden’s blow with his left forearm. The male police officer attempted to punch and push Mr. Harden with his right hand to stop the attack. These attempts were unsuccessful.
Mr. Harden repeatedly attempted to stab the male police officer in the neck and head area with what was now confirmed to be a knife. The male police officer described Mr. Harden as being on top of him when this occurred, and that he was pinned against the wall. The male police officer indicated that he was not able to gain solid footing because of clutter under his feet spreading all the way to the wall (Scene Photo 4, Scene Photo 5). As a result, the male police officer had no leverage and his upper body remained pinned against the wall while he was defending himself. The male police officer stated that he used his left forearm to block Mr. Harden’s right hand from connecting with his head and neck during the numerous blows. Both officers believed Mr. Harden was going to kill the male police officer.
As a result of observing Mr. Harden assaulting the male police officer, the female officer fired two shots from her service weapon. After being shot, Mr. Harden turned and looked at the female officer and fell over. At 6:17:08 pm, less than three minutes after his arrival at 120 Melville Street, the male officer put out a radio call for shots fired and officer in need of assistance. At 6:17:20 pm, the patrol sergeant radioed that all units are directed to 120 Melville Street and to keep the radio channel clear. While the Sergeant was on the radio, the channel was not accessible to other officers. At 6:17:30 pm, the male officer called over the radio for an ambulance. (Radio Call @ 18:17:00)
At 6:18:49 pm, two police officers sent a message over the radio that they arrived at 120 Melville Street. At 6:19:02 pm, the female officer at 120 Melville Street sent a message over the radio that there was another male upstairs (Radio Call @ 18:18:49). At 6:19:09 pm, surveillance video showed additional officers arriving to 120 Melville Street. (Surveillance Video Photo 2, Surveillance Video 2)
The first Fall River Officer to arrive at 120 Melville Street after report of shots fired was a Sergeant who found the two initial officers with their weapons drawn and pointed in the direction of the bedroom. The male officer told the Sergeant, “That guy just tried to kill me with a knife!” The Sergeant drew his weapon, entered the bedroom and observed Mr. Harden laying on the floor just inside the doorway. The Sergeant observed Mr. Harden laying on his belly, groaning and still moving his hands. The Sergeant told Mr. Harden to stop moving his hands. He attempted to secure Mr. Harden in handcuffs with the assistance of an officer that had just arrived. While the police officers attempted to put handcuffs on him, Mr. Harden attempted to pull his hands away from the Sergeant and tuck his hands under his body. Ultimately, Mr. Harden was handcuffed and the Sergeant called for someone to grab a medical bag and render aid.
Fall River Officers began arriving quickly at 120 Melville Street. These officers tended to Mr. Harden and also cleared the other rooms in the house. The owner of the home was found upstairs and Mr. Harden’s brother was found in a nearby bedroom.
At 6:22:40 pm, Fall River Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived at 120 Melville Street and began treating Mr. Harden at approximately 6:25 pm. Fall River EMS personnel reported finding Mr. Harden “handcuffed on floor laying supine, alert, airway open clear and secure, palpable carotid pulses, c/o shortness of breath.” At the EMS request, Mr. Harden was uncuffed and two “penetrating holes” were observed on Mr. Harden’s “lower chest/flank area…” Two Fall River Police Officers assisted EMS in moving Mr. Harden to a backboard. While doing so, one of the Officer’s located a stainless-steel knife with a black handle next to Mr. Harden’s body. This Officer removed the knife from the ground and placed it on the desk in the bedroom (Scene Photo 9, Scene Photo 10, FRPD Report). The other Officer who assisted in moving Mr. Harden also observed the knife after it was removed.
A chest needle decompression on Mr. Harden’s left side was initially “unsuccessful due to the patient being combative and swatting EMS hand.” A second attempt was successful. Initially, EMS began to transport Mr. Harden to Rhode Island Hospital, but they were rerouted to St. Anne’s Hospital when Mr. Harden’s condition worsened. At St. Anne’s Hospital, life-saving measures were unsuccessful. At 6:51 pm, Mr. Harden was pronounced dead.
During a subsequent recorded interview of Mr. Harden’s brother, the brother said he was in his bedroom with a dog when Mr. Harden encountered the police. The brother heard the landlord say that the police were here. The brother then described hearing some words spoken between Mr. Harden and police. Mr. Harden’s brother heard Mr. Harden say he wanted to show the police the video he recorded of his girlfriend. At some point, Mr. Harden’s brother heard a man say “Stop Resisting,” some scuffling noises and then two pop noises. During a subsequent interview of the landlord, the landlord indicated that after he let the police into the home, he went upstairs to his bedroom. A short time later he heard a commotion and three gun shots.
During a subsequent search of Mr. Harden’s residence investigators recovered two spent shell casings, consistent with the two shots being fired from the female officer (Scene Photo 11, Scene Photo 12). In addition, investigators recovered a steak knife from the bedroom desk. The location was consistent with where the Officer indicated the knife was placed after it was removed from where it was seen next to Mr. Harden. A brass backing of a pin was recovered from Mr. Harden’s room (Scene Photo 13). This backing was consistent with one that belonged to the male officer’s uniform as described in the next section. Lastly, a painted stick was observed near Mr. Harden’s bed that appeared to consistent with what Mr. Harden’s girlfriend said Mr. Harden used to strike her (Scene Photo 14).