Officer Haylee Ouellete’s decision to shoot and wound a man at a local apartment complex in July 2023 has been justified by the state Office of the Inspector General, citing self-defense as the primary motive.

According to Inspector General Robert Devlin’s report released on Wednesday, Ouellete discharged her service handgun multiple times, injuring 58-year-old Joseph Diloreto, after he advanced towards her with a knife while repeatedly urging her to “hit me.” The encounter unfolded when Ouellete responded to a 911 call reporting a potential domestic disturbance at an apartment on North Main Street.

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As captured in Ouellete’s body-worn camera footage, Diloreto posed a significant threat to the officer, voicing intentions to harm her and subsequently moving aggressively towards her from the apartment into the courtyard of the complex. Despite Ouellete’s initial attempt to subdue him with a Taser, Diloreto continued to wield the knife and advance, disregarding her commands to drop the weapon.

The intense confrontation reached a critical point when Diloreto challenged Ouellete to “hit me” while advancing with his hands raised. In response, Ouellete discharged her firearm, causing him to collapse to the ground. Post-incident examination revealed that one of the shots had struck Diloreto in the upper leg, leading to his apprehension.

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At the time of the shooting, Ouellete, 28, had been a member of the Manchester Police Department for four years, with a clean disciplinary record, as emphasized in the report.

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Devlin’s assessment concluded that Ouellete’s use of deadly force was a justifiable response to what she reasonably perceived as a threat of grave harm or death. The report refuted Diloreto’s denial of making threats or being armed, aligning with the evidentiary findings.

State police investigators who analyzed the scene identified multiple points of impact from Ouellete’s shots, including the exterior of the apartment, a landscaping timber, and the concrete door landing. Recovered evidence corroborated the sequence of events leading to the shooting incident and supported the Inspector General’s ruling of Ouellete’s actions as objectively reasonable and lawful.

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