October 08, 2020BRISTOL — Having completed its investigation into the shooting of Bristol resident Steven Hall on March 29, 2019, the state Attorney General's office has opted not to file charges against Hall's son, also named Steven, who was identified as the shooter.
The office concluded its final report on the incident, released earlier this week, by stating that it chose not to pursue homicide charges on the grounds that it would be all but impossible to disprove in court that the younger Hall acted in self-defense.
The investigation began at about 1:51 p.m. on March 29, 2019, when Steven Hall, Jr. called 911 and reported that he had shot his father. He further reported that the shooting occurred at an identified apartment inside a building located on Summer Street in Bristol.
Members of the Bristol Police Department responded to that residence within minutes of the 911 call, and there found Hall, Sr. lying dead inside the apartment on the floor by the entrance door, and Hall, Jr. sitting in a nearby chair with his hands raised. Hall, Jr. was visibly upset but cooperative, and in substance admitted that he had shot his father and claimed that he did so because his father advanced at him with a knife. Several feet from Hall Sr.'s body was a bed on which police saw a black powder pistol. A knife was on the floor between Hall, Sr.'s body and the bed. Hall Jr. identified the pistol as the weapon that he had fired at Hall, Sr., and further reported that he was sitting on the bed when he fired the gun.
Because the incident was a homicide investigation, police assumed the primary investigative role, with the assistance of the Attorney General's Office. The investigation included documenting the residence where the fatal shooting occurred and collecting physical evidence at the scene. Additionally, police interviewed numerous witnesses who knew Hall Sr. and Hall Jr. There were no eyewitnesses to the fatal encounter between the two men, and there also was no surveillance footage that captured any of the incident.
During subsequent interviews with police, Hall, Jr. recounted that he had been living with his father for several months, and reported past physical and verbal altercations with him. On the day of the shooting, the two were in their shared apartment that afternoon. Hall, Jr. said that Hall, Sr. had been drinking. Hall, Jr. was on the phone with his girlfriend when Hall, Sr. began arguing with him and telling him that he was lazy. In response, Hall, Jr. said that he broke dishes using a baseball bat, and Hall, Sr. told him to clean them up. Hall Jr. refused, and they continued arguing.
At one point during the verbal argument, while Hall, Jr. was sitting on a bed, Hall Sr. came at him wielding a hunting-style knife. Hall, Jr. further claimed that as Hall, Sr. approached with the knife, and prior to shooting him, Hall Jr. told Hall, Sr. to stop. He claimed that his father did not stop, that he believed that his father was going to stab him, and that he as a result, fired at him with a black-powder pistol which was by the bed.
Hall, Jr.'s girlfriend, whose name has not been released to the public, confirmed that the two men were going through what she called a "rough patch," and that the elder Hall was prone to drinking heavily. She stated that while she was on the phone with him the afternoon of the shooting, she heard Hall, Sr. come into the room and begin yelling at his son. As the argument escalated, she told police that she distinctly heard Hall, Jr. warn his father to get away from him several times. At that point, she recalled hearing a series of sounds, spaced roughly half a second apart, that she described as similar to the sound of breaking glass, after which she heard Hall, Sr. make a groaning noise and Hall, Jr. say something to the effect of "I told you to stop messing with me." Hall, Jr. then told her he needed to call the police and hung up the phone.
Given the consistencies in Hall, Jr. and his girlfriend's recollections of the fateful day's events and the fact that the physical evidence recovered at the scene of the shooting largely supports Hall, Jr.'s depiction of what took place, the Attorney General's office concluded that the available evidence appears to support his claim that he believed he was in immediate physical danger from his father, and acted in self-defense.