Massachusetts Officer “Justified” In Fatal Shooting Outside MGM Springfield

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
USA Legal Betting Casino


  • Officers only opened fire after the victim, William Tisdol, shot at them
  • The incident happened after a brief chase on foot roughly one block from the casino
  • The victim was a proponent of greater transparency from the police after his teenage son was shot in 2017

A Massachusetts police officer was ruled last week as justified in using deadly force in a Main Street shootout just outside the MGM Springfield.

“[The officer] had a duty to protect himself, he had a duty to protect his partner, and he had a duty to protect the public from [the shooter],” Hampden District Attorney Gulluni told reporters.

Gulluni revealed that the aggressor was a 48-year-old male named William Tisdol from Hartford, Connecticut, less than a half-hour away from MGM Springfield. The deadly confrontation occurred on February 25 and came to a halt roughly one block away from the casino.

What happened at BetMGM Springfield

The Massachusetts State Police Gaming Enforcement Unit responded to a report that there was a man “acting aggressive to others and possibly armed with a firearm” inside the casino. That man turned out to be Tisdol. 

According to police reports, the responding officers approached the casino as Tisdol was leaving at roughly 2 a.m. ET. They engaged him in a chase on foot and got him on the ground before he broke away. 

The officers then told him they were going to tase him, prompting him to brandish a firearm and open fire on the officers. They then returned fire—later confirmed as 17 shots—and ultimately struck Tisdol once in the chest. He was soon rushed to nearby Baystate Medical Center before later being pronounced dead.

Tisdol had a negative history with police after an officer-involved shooting left his teenage son wounded in 2017.

His son, 15 at the time, was one of two teens injured by five ​​New Britain, Connecticut officers that were investigating a string of carjackings and robberies. The five officers opened fire on a car they were attempting to pull over and ended up hitting the two youths.

The officers claimed that they were targeting a 20-year-old rapper named Zoe Dowdell, who went by the stage name “Gangstalicious.” A report said that Dowdell was operating a car that was hurtling towards them on the sidewalk, and they fired at him in self-defense.

The senior Tisdol disagreed with that claim. He said the dashcam footage released in 2018 showed that after Dowdell was struck, the car came to a halt, and his son shouted “He is dead! You can stop shooting!” to no avail.

Tisdol spent the year following the incident campaigning for greater transparency from the authorities.

Dealing with the aftermath

Details later emerged that Tisdol got into an argument with a table game player roughly 30 minutes before the deadly shooting. The casino’s security ultimately had to separate Tisdol and the second patron, who’d asked Tisdol to sit out a hand, and were shocked to hear the second man claim that Tisdol threatened to shoot him with a gun he had on him. 

Tisdol left for the exit after noticing police coming towards him. 

Police later discovered that Tisdol had an active warrant for his arrest in New York over weapons charges. He’d also spent about a year in prison for drug offenses, his family revealed to local radio station WAMC.

Tisdol’s son, the one involved in the 2017 shooting, was also sentenced to 12 years in prison for robbery, attempted robbery, and drug and gun charges last August.

Gulluni met with Tisdol’s family and members of the community last week to describe the case before going public with the media. The victim’s mother, Gloria Carter Vaught, said that she wanted to understand everything that happened the night of the shooting. 

“I have a right to know what exactly happened to him,” Vaught said, per New England Public Media. “I want to see all footage from the casino, from the town of Springfield, from the body cams and from dash cams. I have a right to. He’s my son.” 

Vaught described her son as a father and music producer.

MGM Springfield opened in August 2018. It was one of three casinos that offered legal sports betting on the January 31 launch date this year.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.