New HampshireDepartment of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General

News Release

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2018

Peter Hinckley, Senior Assistant Attorney General
(603) 271-1209, (603) 657-4904

John Harding, Assistant Attorney General

Determination Made on Use of Force in Officer-Involved Shooting in Nashua on June 26, 2018

Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announces that the Attorney General's Office has made a determination as to the lawfulness of the police officer shooting of Justin Contreras (age 29) in Nashua, New Hampshire on June 26, 2018.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m. on June 26, Nashua Police Officers James Ciulla, Guido Marchionda, and Kyle Crosson responded to 106 Ledge Street in Nashua, in order to conduct a welfare check on Justin Contreras. Earlier that evening, Justin Contreras's mother had called the police and reported in substance that her son was despondent and suicidal. 106 Ledge Street is a two-story house with separate apartments on the first and second floors. Justin Contreras lived in the second-floor apartment.

While inside a staircase foyer of 106 Ledge Street, Officer Ciulla encountered Justin Contreras. Mr. Contreras was holding a revolver. Unknown to Officer Ciulla the revolver was unloaded at the time. During an encounter that followed, Officer Ciulla fired three shots at Justin Contreras. Justin Contreras was shot twice; once in his lower right arm, and once in his front torso near the collarbone. Justin Contreras was hospitalized for his wounds and survived. Nobody else was injured during the encounter, and nobody discharged a weapon other than Officer Ciulla.

Although Justin Contreras survived, Officer Ciulla's shooting of him constitutes the use of deadly force under the law. The Attorney General's Office and the New Hampshire State Police Major Crime Unit have conducted a full investigation to determine whether that use of deadly force against Justin Contreras was legally justified. After a review of evidence gathered during the course of the investigation, the Attorney General has determined that Officer Ciulla's shooting of Justin Contreras was a legally justified use of deadly force.

The Hillsborough County Attorney's Office has brought criminal charges against Justin Contreras in connection with the June 26th encounter with Officer Ciulla. Those charges are pending. As a result, the Attorney General's Office is unable to release further information about its investigation at this time. N.H. Rules of Professional Conduct 3.6(a) ("A lawyer who…has participated in the investigation…of a matter shall not make an extrajudicial statement that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know will be disseminated by means of public communication and will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicative proceeding in the matter."). However, when the current legal proceedings against Justin Contreras have concluded, the Attorney General's Office will issue its full report on the investigation into Officer Ciulla's use of deadly force, with the associated findings and reasoning behind the determination made.

New Hampshire Department of Justice
1 Granite Place South | Concord, NH | 03301
Telephone: 603-271-3658