Man charged in trooper slashing paralyzed from shooting

BRYAN EATON/Staff PhotoTraffic is backed up on Interstate 495 after the incident in which police say a state trooper was attacked and the attacker was shot. 

A teenager charged with stabbing a state trooper at an Interstate 495 work site in Amesbury remains in a Boston hospital, paralyzed from the neck down from gunshot wounds and on a ventilator, according to Newburyport District Court documents.

Nathan Aguilar is described in an emergency motion for reconsideration of bail as an autistic 18-year-old with no history of violence. Aguilar was shot by the trooper seconds after police say the teen walked up to the police cruiser and attacked him with a box cutter on Dec. 12.

The trooper, identified as 34-year-old Stephen Torosian, sustained numerous cuts to his left arm and was taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where he was treated and released that afternoon, according to state police.

Torosian is assigned to the Andover state police barracks. While officials would not release his name last week, the police report identifies him.

After the incident, Aguilar was flown to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and arraigned the next morning from his hospital bed on charges of aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and aggravated assault and battery.

A status hearing Aguilar is scheduled for Jan. 21 in District Court.

The revelations regarding Aguilar's condition came as part of two emergency motions filed by his attorney, Nicole Cordeiro, and heard in court.

The first motion was to seal Aguilar's medical records while the second asked that a judge reconsider bail because of his physical condition. With Aguilar's parents and other family members in attendance, Judge Peter Doyle granted both motions and set bail at $2,500.

Aguilar's family posted the bail a short time later. Conditions of his release include having no contact with the trooper and weekly medical status checks.

Based on Cordeiro's testimony and her bail motion, it appears unlikely Aguilar will be able to leave the hospital any time soon.

"It's kind of a minute-by-minute basis at the hospital," Cordeiro said.

One of her motions said "it is unknown if he will be able to breathe on his own in the future, and if he will survive his injuries."

"Nathan cannot and does not pose a threat to anyone's safety," the motion said.

Cordeiro's emergency bail reconsideration motion argued that because Aguilar was being held in the Essex Sheriff's Department's custody, his family was not allowed to visit him.

"Given Nathan's grave condition, it would simply be cruel not to allow his parents, siblings and grandparents unlimited visitation," Cordeiro wrote.

She also wrote that it was a waste of state money and resources to have Sheriff's Department guards watching him at the hospital because he has "no means to move."

"More significantly, making medical decisions for someone else's child who is facing the possibility of death is a heavy burden for the Sheriff's Department to bear," Cordeiro wrote.

Court documents revealed even more details about the attack.

A police report of the incident showed that a construction worker saw Aguilar get out of a brown Honda Odyssey, walk to Torosian's parked cruiser and make "several stabbing motions" at the trooper.

The witness then told police he heard a gunshot and saw Aguilar fall to the ground. Torosian got out of his cruiser and kicked the box cutter away from him.

After being brought to the hospital, Aguilar underwent spinal fusion surgery.

"Nonetheless, he is paralyzed from the neck down, with minimal movement in his fingers, as a result of the altercation," the court document says.

Cordeiro's motion also stated that Aguilar was diagnosed with autism, lives with his parents, and has no criminal history or reputation for violence. He recently graduated from Northeast Technical High School in Wakefield, where he studied electrical work.

While attending school, he received a scholarship to work with the electricians union, Local 103, and "was on lunch break the day of the incident," the document says.

"The allegations in this matter are not characteristic of Nathan Aguilar," Cordeiro wrote in her motion. "Nathan is not a danger and most likely will never be a danger to anyone in the future as his paralysis appears to be permanent.''



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