Police officer shoots, kills Avon man armed with knife

Norman Miller, Joyce Kelly and John Hilliard/Daily News staff

A Framingham Police officer shot and killed an Avon man who threatened him with a knife near the Masonic Hall on Concord Street last night, authorities said.

Officer Steve Casey was on patrol in his cruiser on Concord Street around 8:15 when a man flagged him down, saying there was a body behind the Masonic Hall, police sources said. As Casey walked toward him, the man threatened him with a fishing knife.

Casey fired his weapon several times, killing the man, according to police sources. This morning, authorities identified him as Karl Thomsen, 42, of Avon.

Casey was not injured.

Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney's office are investigating the shooting, according to DA spokesman Corey Welford. Framingham Police will conduct an internal investigation.

The area near the shooting - at the corner of Concord and Mansfield streets - was blocked off by police, fire and highway crews.

After calling for help, Casey was the first person to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, police sources said. Thomsen later died at MetroWest Medical Center.

Casey joined the police department in 1995 after four years in the Marine Corps. He is a member of the special operations unit and an instructor for the firearms unit.

Casey was among several officers honored with a commendation earlier this year, according to a story in the News.

In June 2006, police searched the woods in north Framingham for a despondent teenager who had taken a large quantity of anti-depressants. Casey found him.

After last night's shooting, four neighbors told the News they heard at least three gunshots.

``I heard bang, bang, bang,'' said George Butterly, who has lived in the area for 13 years. ``I heard three shots.''

As he spoke, a Framingham officer approached a crowd of people lined up near police tape and asked, ``Did anyone see anything, hear anything?''

Police also approached nearby homes and asked people gathered in doorways and on porches what they might have seen or heard.

``I thought it was fireworks at first,'' said a neighbor who identified himself as Ted, who saw the victim taken away in an ambulance.

Because of last night's passing storm, police set up a tent over a green park bench and trash can to preserve evidence. Markers denoting shell casings were in the center of Concord Street.

At least four officers walked into the nearby woods with flashlights at about 9:30, checking the ground and trees near Gleason Pond.

Erica Johnston, who lives at the corner of Concord and Mansfield streets, with a direct view of the shooting scene, said she was watching television when she heard gunshots. She immediately looked out her window.

``I saw a cop standing over a guy laying on the ground I assume had been shot or was shooting. The cop had his gun pointed at him. He didn't look like he was moving, really - but neither would I if a cop had his gun drawn on me,'' she said.

Bill Hannon, a Concord Street resident, said he was walking home from church when he heard gunshots. 

Police officers in MetroWest rarely discharge their weapons in the line of duty. In November 2006, a Franklin Police officer killed a man who pointed a rifle at police during a standoff at the man's home. The shooting was later ruled justifiable by the Norfolk County District Attorney's office.

In May 2005, Framingham Officer Matthew Gutwill fired his gun three times at a pickup truck whose driver had rammed his cruiser. Gutwill was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Before that incident, the last time a Framingham officer fired his weapon in the line of duty was 1989.

Framingham Police officers undergo 20 hours of training a year with their sidearms - a .40-caliber SigSauer, Police Chief Steven Carl said in a May 2005 interview.

The state only requires eight hours a year, he said.

Carl had said each officer must complete an eight-hour Massachusetts Criminal Justice Council qualifying course. They also undergo eight-hour simulation scenarios using nonlethal bullets. There is also four hours of procedure training.