SALISBURY — Declaring himself fit for duty and with a medical doctor backing his claim, Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler returned to duty Monday.
Fowler was placed on paid administrative leave May 15 after he and two other officers were involved in the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Nicholas Foster of Cable Avenue, who came at them wielding a machete.
“I was anxious to get back to work,” Fowler said yesterday.
Officers are placed on administrative leave whenever a gun is fired on duty; an investigation is conducted and officers must be cleared by a doctor before they return.
In his place, Detective Sgt. Anthony King served as acting chief. Two other officers involved in the fatal shooting, Michael Alder and Sgt. Robert Roy, remain on paid administrative leave. But Fowler said the two veteran officers should be back on the streets soon pending the same medical evaluation.
Essex County District Attorney spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan yesterday said her office is still actively reviewing what prompted Foster to allegedly stab his wife and another man inside his Cable Avenue home. She offered no time frame as to when the investigation would be completed.
After stabbing his two victims, Foster then left the house and tried leaving the scene in a maroon Toyota. When confronted by an approaching police cruiser, Foster rammed his car into Alder’s vehicle. He then got out of the Toyota, armed with a machete and a smaller knife, and approached police. When he refused their demands that he drop the weapons and began running toward police, officers fired at him, killing him instantly, according to authorities.
“I wish it never happened, but it did and I think everybody involved did the best they could,” Fowler said.
Last Thursday, Town Manager Neil Harrington said the trio of officers would be examined by a doctor hired by other police departments for related incidents. But according to Fowler, he had been evaluated days earlier.