On September 30, 2008, at approximately 1630 hours, Officer John Vautour was traveling down Henry Avenue towards Lawton Avenue from the area of Nichols Street, as he approached Lawton Avenue he heard several “pops” which sounded like gunshots. His attention was immediately drawn to Jenny’s Convenience Store, on the corner of Lawton Avenue and Henry Avenue. Jenny’s is a small store surrounded by several multi-unit dwellings. Typically, this area is congested with pedestrians, small children and vehicles.
Officer Vautour witnessed an individual dressed in black, standing in the street, firing a hand gun at two males. These individuals were standing on the corner, by the store. This male was firing point blank at the intended victims, attempting to kill them or anyone else who was in his way. Later at the scene, shell casings were discovered on the sidewalk, and witnesses stated that they heard at least five shots.
It appeared to Officer Vautour that the two intended victims on the corner had some how managed to avoid being shot. He then observed the shooting suspect enter a white Acura driven by another individual, and speed off toward Lawton Avenue. Without hesitation or regard for his own safety, Officer Vautour began to pursue the fleeing vehicle in his cruiser. When the suspects realized that the marked police cruiser was directly behind them, they bailed out of the Acura on Grover St. and fled on foot. The vehicle, which was still running, came to rest in a vacant lot.
As the extraordinary events unfolded in front of him, Officer Vautour calmly transmitted his observations over the radio to other units. Furthermore, he was able to provide a description of the suspects involved, the vehicle, and the fact that shots were fired. He also radioed the direction of the foot pursuit, and that the two suspects exited the car and were running, one toward High Rock Street and the other into a yard which bordered Herbert Street.
Several units arrived on scene to assist Officer Vautour, as he chased the driver of the car and kept a visual on the passenger’s direction of flight. At this point, the officer was not aware that the gun had been left behind in the vehicle. Due to Officer Vautour’s concise radio transmission, and with the assistance of Sergeant Ted Cusack, Sergeant Edward Nardone, Detective Michael Ferraro, Detective Gary Hagerty, Detective Stephen Withrow, and several other officers on the scene, both suspects were placed into custody.The events which transpired on Tuesday, September 30, 2008, were extremely violent. Several multi-unit homes on Henry Avenue were processed for evidence by the State Police, and several bullet holes were discovered.
On May 27, 2008, Detective Holey was assigned to the Second Division in a marked police vehicle. While patrolling in the area of Alley Street, he observed a male party attempting to avoid police detection. Due to the individual’s suspicious behavior, the high crime area, and the early morning hour; he exited his cruiser, in order to investigate. Detective Holey suddenly became involved in a foot pursuit of a 35 year old male, who he later learned had a violent criminal history. At some point during the incident, this person brandished a knife, and advanced towards him.
Dismissing the officer’s warnings to drop the knife, the suspect continued his approach. In order to stop the imminent knife assault, Detective Holey was forced to discharge his department issued firearm. As a result, the threat to Detective Holey’s life was neutralized. Holey immediately summonsed medical assistance in an attempt to save this individual’s life, however to no avail. Sergeants Christopher Kelly and James Shorten were quickly on scene, along with additional officers, who offered assistance.Unbeknownst to Detective Holey at the time, the suspect was involved in a disturbance, just prior to their encounter. Had Detective Holey not been in a position to recognize this person’s suspicious behavior and engage him, this individual could have unleashed his violent emotional state on another unarmed and unsuspecting person. Because of his dedication to duty, and display of
Detective Stephen Withrow
On April 26, 2008, at approximately 2305 hours Lynn Police Detective Oren Wright, Lynn Police Detective Stephen Withrow and Salem Police Officer John Burke were conducting a motor vehicle stop on Story Avenue in Lynn, when they heard several gunshots coming from the direction of Pinkham Street. They observed a dark colored motor vehicle turn onto Story Avenue from Pinkham Street at a high rate of speed. This vehicle proceeded directly toward Detective Wright, Detective Withrow and Officer Burke before it stopped abruptly 10 feet behind their unmarked cruiser. Detective Withrow, Detective Wright and Officer Burke believed that this motor vehicle was involved in the shooting that just occurred.
Detective Withrow already had one person in custody as a result of an unrelated incident and was awaiting transport for the prisoner. Simultaneously, Detective Wright and Officer Burke turned their attention to the suspect’s vehicle, drew their weapons and approached the vehicle while ordering the operator to turn the engine off. The vehicle then accelerated in reverse back toward Pinkham Street. Detective Wright and Officer Burke got back into their cruiser and pursued the fleeing individual’s motor vehicle before it became involved in a minor accident on the corner of Union and Union Court. At that point, the driver was observed running on foot away from the scene. Salem Police Officer Burke began a foot pursuit of the driver, while the four remaining passengers were kept in the motor vehicle at gun point by Detective Wright, until Detective Withrow also arrived on the scene. Officer Burke continued his pursuit of the operator through several yards while other arriving officers quickly established a containment area to prevent further escape of the driver. Lieutenant Christopher Reddy eventually located the suspect hiding in a nearby yard several minutes later.
A search of the vehicle was conducted and a .25 caliber handgun and a .380 caliber semi-automatic were found. Lynn Police Detective Robert Hogan located a 9mm. handgun nearby that had been thrown from the motor vehicle. An early assessment of the scene revealed that thirteen shots had been fired into a Pinkham Street home where a rival gang member resides. At the time of the shooting, there was a baby shower in progress and in attendance were fifteen guests, which included four children.
As a result of the keen observations and subsequent actions of Detective Wright, Detective Withrow and Salem Police Officer Burke, five admitted gang members were arrested for numerous firearm charges. These same five individuals were suspected to have been involved in several other shootings in the City of Lynn within the past month and have extensive and violent criminal histories. Several of the suspects had also been arrested with firearms in the past, and as a result of the officers’ efforts three firearms were taken from these individuals before they could harm anyone at the scene.Detective Withrow, Detective Wright and Salem Police Officer Burke took immediate and decisive action and disregarded their own personal safety as they took five armed and dangerous suspects into custody.
Sergeant Lucas Dean
On March 16, 2008, at approximately 2100 hours, Officers James Daley and David Harney (Car 14) responded to a Woodman Street address after receiving a report of a disturbance, with a woman screaming for help. The officers arrived on scene and located a female victim of a domestic incident. After interviewing the victim, the officers broadcast information regarding an armed male suspect who was on foot in the area of the Blue Moon Restaurant on Western Avenue. The suspect was wanted for numerous charges after allegedly threatening his girlfriend with a handgun and placing the barrel of the handgun in the victim’s mouth. All units were advised to use caution as the suspect was dangerous and still possibly armed with a weapon.
Several Division Units responded to the area of Western Avenue and Centre Street to assist in locating the armed suspect. Sergeant Edward Nardone (Car S-2) observed two individuals standing in the doorway of the Blue Moon Restaurant. As he approached the two individuals, one of them began to walk down Centre Street towards Marion Street. Sergeant Nardone briefly spoke with the individual that had remained in the doorway of the restaurant. As Sergeant Nardone exited the parking lot he observed the other individual who was standing in the doorway running down Centre Street, and then onto Tacoma Street. Sergeant Nardone informed dispatch and other units in the area of the location of the fleeing individual. The suspect ran left onto Brookvale Street and at this point Sergeant Nardone lost sight of him.
Sergeant Donald Kasle (Car S-l) and Officer Peter Alexander (Car 12) now joined Sergeant Nardone on Brookvale Street. Sergeant Kasle requested that a perimeter be established around the immediate area and a foot search of the neighborhood was initiated. Within minutes Officer Alexander located a male party in the driveway of a Brookvale Street residence. The man yelled out to Officer Alexander “you can stop searching; I’m behind the car and I have a gun”. He was observed pressing the barrel of his handgun to the underside of his chin. This individual was quickly identified as the suspect of the domestic incident on Woodman Street.
At this point, Sergeant Kasle requested the department’s Special Response Team and a crisis negotiator be deployed to the scene. The inner perimeter, which contained the suspect, was set up and manned by S.R.T. Officers J. Daley, G. Dunnigan, G. Hagerty, S. Hogan, M. Kelter, J. Randazza, Division Sergeants D. Kasle, E. Nardone, L. Dean and Division Officers P. Alexander, C. Griffin, M. Hanlon, and J.R. White.
The suspect was ordered numerous times by Officer Alexander and Sergeant Nardone to drop his gun. The suspect refused the Officers’ commands and responded “I’ll shoot myself right now”. Officer Timothy Magner, one of the department’s trained crisis negotiators, arrived on scene and began a dialogue with the suspect. During this time, the suspect exhibited a wide range of emotions, including threats to harm himself and any officers that came near him. The distraught male party calmed down on a few occasions and appeared to come close to surrendering, but returned to his agitated state and continued his threats to kill himself.
Officer Magner continued his dialogue with the suspect for approximately 3 hours. At that point, the Massachusetts State Police Stop Team and Crisis Negotiating Team responded under the direction of State Police Captain Barry, and State Police Sergeant Washington. The State Police systematically replaced our officers assigned to the inner perimeter with their officers, however, Officer Magner stayed with the State Police Crisis Negotiating Team to assist in the negotiations.
The State Police continued their negotiations with the suspect for several more hours. At that time, a joint decision was made by the incident commanders to distract and attempt to disarm the suspect with the use of less lethal force. Unfortunately, the confrontation concluded with the suspect taking his own life.
It should be noted that this entire incident occurred outside during subfreezing temperatures. The officers were forced to maintain their posts for several hours confronting an armed, dangerous, and suicidal individual. Additionally, the suspect stated he was armed with a fragmentation grenade and threatened to detonate the grenade while standing beside a 500 gallon oil tank.
In addition to the officers located in the inner perimeter, Sergeant R. Carrow, Officers B. Chisholm, R. Fucci, A. Harshman, P. McGuire, R. Panacopoulos, R. Rawston, and J. Vautour secured and maintained the outer perimeter. They also evacuated surrounding residences and assisted in transporting personnel and equipment.
The officers responding to this incident exhibited the highest level of professionalism and courage as they quickly arrived on the scene and utilized their training and skills to attempt to subdue an armed and dangerous suspect.
Detective Paul Holey,
On January 29, 2008, at approximately 1930 Hours, SIU Detectives Paul Holey and Ross Panacopoulos were on routine unmarked patrol in plain clothes in West Lynn near the Saugus line. As the detectives were checking the area, they observed a male near the Honey Dew Donut Shoppe acting in a suspicious manner. More specifically, Detective Panacopoulos and Detective Holey observed him pulling on the strings of his sweatshirt hood in an attempt to cover his face, giving them reason to believe this subject was in the early stages of preparing to commit a robbery.
Because the individual’s behavior seemed suspicious, Detective Holey quickly positioned his unmarked unit in a manner so that they could further observe him and monitor his actions. Shortly thereafter, the suspect entered the business, produced a handgun and began to rob the female clerk. Detective Holey and Detective Panacopoulos made a split second decision to immediately enter the store in order to stop the robbery in progress and prevent any injury to the female clerk behind the counter. Detective Holey entered through the front door with his weapon drawn and Detective Panacopoulos began to move to the rear of the store to attempt to block any means of escape by the suspect. Upon entering through the front door, Detective Holey immediately ordered the subject to drop the weapon. The suspect, while still holding the handgun, turned and began to run toward the rear of the store. The fleeing individual was able to exit the building before Detective Panacopoulos was able to block his exit. He was then pursued on foot by both Detective Holey and Detective Panacopoulos, and all available units were requested to move in and secure the surrounding streets to prevent his escape. Once the area was secured and cordoned off, a yard by yard search began and the suspect was ultimately found hiding in a dumpster a short distance away.
The keen observations of both Detective Holey and Detective Panacopoulos, followed by their quick and decisive actions, prevented the robbery from occurring, saved the store clerk from potential harm, and led to the arrest of an armed suspect. Further investigation, led to the solving of a number of other armed robberies committed by this individual and a second accomplice; which took place in several cities from Lynn to the New Hampshire border. The suspect is well known to law enforcement officials in the greater Boston area and has a history of violent confrontations with the police over the past fifteen years.Detective Holey and Detective Panacopoulos exhibited the highest level of professionalism and dedication to duty as they disregarded their own personal safety to take this robbery suspect into custody. Utilizing their keen observatory skills, they immediately identified a suspicious individual, and then pursued and captured him within minutes of the incident.