Evacuation of Residents from a Burning Building

Sergeant Michael Kenny
Officer Paul Cotter
Officer Christopher Hagerty
Officer Paul Holey
Officer Thomas Holland

On November 11, 2010, at approximately 0327 hours, Officer Paul Cotter (Car 10) was actively patrolling the area of Hamilton Avenue when he came upon a working fire in the rear of a dwelling on Hamilton Avenue.  Officer Cotter radioed into dispatch his location, calmly reported the conditions of the fire, and summonsed additional police and fire response to the scene.  

While awaiting the arrival of additional units and fire personnel, Officer Cotter began to bang on the doors of this address in an attempt to rouse the occupants inside, but to no avail.  A neighbor approached him to advise that there was nobody residing on the first floor; however, Officer Cotter was informed that there were two families living on the second and third floors.  Upon receiving this information, Officer Cotter then kicked in both of the front doors, thus allowing access to all three floors of the building.  He then ascended the first flight of stairs where he encountered a family inside of the second floor apartment.  Officer Cotter immediately ordered the family out of the house, and assisted the five members down the stairs and out onto the front sidewalk, to safety.

 Once outside the home, Officer Cotter was told that the homeowner and the father of this family was unaccounted for and was possibly downstairs in the basement.  Officer Cotter went back into the building via the first floor apartment, and while attempting to navigate through the heavy smoke, found his way to a door that led to the basement.  He then located the homeowner in the rear part of the basement and attempted to get him out of the building; but the individual initially refused to leave the building.  The homeowner was apparently attempting to obtain a garden hose to extinguish the fire out back and was being uncooperative.  Officer Cotter was eventually able to persuade the man into leaving, and he was escorted out of the house to safety and reunited with his family out front. 

     At about the same time, Sergeant Michael Kenny, Officer Christopher Hagerty, Officer Paul Holey, and Thomas Holland had arrived on scene to assist Officer Cotter.  The officers learned from some of the evacuated family members that their mother was missing and was possibly still upstairs in the third floor apartment.  Upon hearing this information, Officers Hagerty and Holland rushed upstairs toward the third floor and located the woman inside the apartment.  The officers walked her to the exit and escorted her down the stairs where she eventually made her way outside to safety.

     Officers Hagerty and Holland then went back into the third floor apartment to do a sweep of the rooms, in order to make sure that there were no other occupants inside.  Once the floor was cleared, the officers then made their way back toward the front stairwell in order to exit the building, but they encountered heavy black smoke that was billowing up from the second floor apartment.

     Unbeknownst to both officers was the fact that the source of the fire was coming from the second floor apartment and moving rapidly toward the front of the building.  Officers Hagerty and Holland were then unable to see each other through the thick smoke, and had no visibility whatsoever regarding their pathway out of the building.  In essence the officers began to rely solely on the feel of the railings, walls, and their brief recollection of a hallway and stairwell to which they were not familiar.  Both officers used their own clothing to cover their mouths while breathing as they attempted to exit the building, but inevitably inhaled large amounts of smoke that contributed to their confusion and whereabouts.

     Seeing that the fire was now rapidly spreading to the front of the building, Sergeant Kenny got on the radio and ordered all officers out of the building.  Officers Hagerty and Holland did not respond on their radios due to the heavy smoke.  After receiving no response from the two officers inside, Sergeant Kenny and Officer Holey rushed into the building and began to make their way up the stairwell to the third floor.  They both encountered the heavy smoke, but continued to make their way up the stairs where they located Officer Hagerty somewhere between the second and third floor landing.  Officer Holey was able to grab Officer Hagerty and get him out of the building to safety. 

Officer Holland had been following Officer Hagerty and had a grasp on his coat; however, the two became separated when Officer Hagerty stumbled on the stairs going down.  Sergeant Kenny began to call out for Officer Holland but was getting no response.  Officer Cotter who had been outside tending to the family noticed that Officer Hagerty and Officer Holey were the only officers that had exited the building.  Officer Cotter then ran back into the building and made his way up the stairwell to assist Sergeant Kenny in the hallway.  Sergeant Kenny continued to yell for Officer Holland while illuminating his light up the stairs.  Through the heavy smoke, Officer Holland eventually spotted the faint light from Sergeant Kenny’s maglight, and made his way toward this light.  Sergeant Kenny was able to grab hold of Officer Holland and get him down the stairs, and with the assistance of Officer Cotter, take him out of the building to safety.

Once outside of the building the officers were assisted by other responding division officers and escorted to an ambulance where they were evaluated and eventually treated for smoke inhalation. 

     The exemplary actions, bravery, and teamwork of the above mentioned officers resulted in the safe evacuation of eight family members and the officers who had been temporarily stranded in the building trying to save them.  Their actions prevented what was certain to be a potential tragedy from this fast moving two alarm fire.


Firearm and Drug Arrests

Officer Michael Kmiec
Officer Paul Wonoski

On November 24, 2010, at 1750 hours, while patrolling their route, Officer Michael Kmiec and Officer Paul Wonoski observed an individual who was known to them operating a Gray Chrysler 300.  The operator was immediately recognized by Officer Michael Kmiec and both officers were aware that this individual did not have a valid license to operate a motor vehicle.  A call to dispatch and the cruiser’s MDT confirmed this.  After getting the confirmation the officers turned their cruiser around and attempted to catch up to the suspect’s vehicle but were unable to do so at that time. 

At 1920 hours the officers noticed the same vehicle parked in the parking lot of a pizza and sub restaurant on Chestnut Street, and saw the suspect inside the business.  They positioned their cruiser on Clough Street in order to observe if individual entered and operated the motor vehicle.  Moments later they saw the suspect exit the store and enter into the driver’s seat of the car.  They then observed him back out of the parking lot onto Chestnut Street and then drive up Grant Street.  The officers started following the vehicle up Grant Street and saw that it took a right onto Rockingham Street.  As the officers turned onto Rockingham Street, they saw that the suspect had pulled over to the right side of the street, blocking a driveway.  The officers then activated their blue lights and pulled in behind the vehicle to conduct a traffic stop.  While approaching the vehicle both officers could smell a strong odor of burnt marijuana emanating from the car.  There were three occupants inside the vehicle. Officer Kmiec had conversation with one of the individuals in regards to his license status, and he was asked to exit the car.  It was then that Officer Kmiec also recognized the front seat passenger, who has a past criminal history of firearms violations.  He also observed the suspect’s hands shaking and immediately called for additional units and the following units arrived on scene: (Car 8) Officer J. McIntyre, (Car 12) Officer R. Gokas, (Car 9) Officer M. O’Connell and (Car 10) Officer R. Deveau. 

The driver was then placed into custody for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.  The other two individuals were both asked to exit the vehicle, both were pat-frisked, and nothing was found.  Inside the car, Officer Kmiec found a small amount of marijuana and Officer Wonoski discovered a loaded Glock semi automatic handgun in the unlocked glove compartment.  The two passengers were then placed into custody as well.  A further search of the vehicle revealed 2 bags containing crack cocaine, 1 bag with a twist with several small pieces, and the other with a large piece along and a digital scale.

The officers’ strong attention to detail, along with their knowledge and their ability to act on that knowledge, were responsible for taking three criminals, a confirmed stolen semi automatic high capacity Glock, and the drugs that the suspects were selling off the streets.  They also seized the illegal proceeds of those drugs.  The dedication and professionalism consistently exhibited by Officer Kmiec and Officer Wonoski helps makes this city a safer place for both our citizens to live and the members of our department to work.


Firearm and Drug Arrest

Detective Gary Hagerty

On August 17, 2010, at approximately 16:33 hours, while conducting proactive patrol in an unmarked vehicle, Detective Gary Hagerty observed a 2004 Gray Nissan Pathfinder being operated on Lawton Avenue.  The vehicle had stopped in the street to let a passenger out.  This is a high crime area, where the officer has been involved in several drug, firearms and violent crime arrests.  The passenger immediately began to focus his attention on the unmarked cruiser as he walked down Hamilton Avenue.  The vehicle drove off, at which time Detective Hagerty conducted a registry check of the license plate through his on-board computer.  He then followed the vehicle and quickly learned through his registry query that the license plate had an expired status. He conducted a motor vehicle stop on Essex Street near Brightwood Terrace, and while approaching the Nissan on foot; he noticed the driver moving around under the driver’s seat as well as towards the center console area.  Detective Hagerty was very familiar with this individual and was aware of past firearms and drug charges against him.  The suspect was wearing basketball shorts and Detective Hagerty observed a large sum of money hanging out of the left pocket, and also noticed a large bulge in his right pocket.  The individual appeared to be extremely nervous and his voice was cracking as he spoke, as he handed his license and registration to Detective Hagerty.  Detective Hagerty informed the suspect that his vehicle was being towed due to the expired plate violation and immediately requested back-up. Officers Raymond Guillermo, Officer Ronald Brown, Officer Michael Gorman, Officer Paul Wonoski and Officer Domingo Polonia soon arrived on scene.

While Detective Hagerty was advising the officers of his observations and knowledge of the suspect, Officer Guillermo noticed the individual moving around inside the vehicle.  Officer Guillermo relayed his observations to the other officers and Detective Hagerty, along with Officers Brown, Gorman and Wonoski went to the driver’s side and requested that he step outside of the vehicle.  Once the suspect was outside, Detective Hagerty observed that the large unknown bulge in his right shorts pocket was gone.  He conducted a quick pat frisk and retrieved a large sum of money from the individual’s left pocket.  As Detective Hagerty was walking to the sidewalk with the suspect, Officer Wonoski advised him that there was a gun found under the driver’s seat, and that the suspect should be handcuffed. Officer Gorman then read the individual his Miranda Rights and demanded he produce his F.I.D. card and/or his Firearms License to Carry card. After the suspect told the officer that he did not have a card, he was then informed that he was under arrest. Officer Guillermo, who had moved to assist Officer Wonoski with the inspection of the interior of the vehicle, discovered a purple Crown Royal Liquor bag on the floor directly behind the front passenger seat.  Upon opening the bag, Officer Guillermo discovered and seized approximately 337 grams of crack and powdered cocaine.  The recovered handgun was a fully loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm, and the amount of U.S. currency subsequently seized at booking was $1,924.00.

As a result of Detective Hagerty’s initial motor vehicle stop, his knowledge of the suspect, and his follow-up observations of his extremely nervous behavior, along with his use of proper procedure and tactics in requesting back-up, an armed and dangerous individual was arrested, his weapon was seized, and a substantial amount of crack and powdered cocaine was removed from the streets of Lynn.


Capture of a robbery suspect while off-duty

Officer Gary Hagerty

On July 8, 2010, at approximately 1115 Hours, Officer Gary Hagerty was off duty in his personal vehicle in the area of Summer Street when he observed a male party walking toward the Linden Market.  He noticed that this individual suddenly pulled the hood of his grey sweatshirt over his head and tightened the drawstrings in what appeared to be an attempt to conceal his identity.  Officer Hagerty found this behavior odd due to the unusual hot weather on that day; so he pulled into a nearby parking lot to watch him.  Officer Hagerty observed that this individual was in the doorway of the Linden Market, and then he quickly exited from the store and ran up Linden Street.  Officer Hagerty attempted to follow the suspect in his personal vehicle because he thought the store may have just been robbed.

After a brief search he was able to locate the suspect exiting a yard on Elizabeth Street, at which time Officer Hagerty identified himself as a police officer.  The suspect attempted to run away from Officer Hagerty and a scuffle ensued.  Officer Hagerty was able to detain this individual until other officers arrived to assist. The suspect was searched and $239.00 dollars in small denominations was found crumpled up in his front pants pocket.  The suspect was subsequently positively identified by the store owner.

Officer Gary Hagerty exhibited selfless heroism, dedication to duty, and professionalism under extremely stressful and dangerous circumstances. The actions of this officer went above and beyond the call of duty, as he was off duty at the time of this incident.


Attempt to rescue drowning victim

Officer Robert Avery
Officer Michael O’Connell

On July 27, 2010, at approximately 1811 hours, the following police personnel responded to an active drowning incident at the Lynn Reservoir:  Sergeant Timothy Hallisey, Officer Michael O’Connell, Officer Robert Avery, Officer Andrew Beaver, Officer Titou Kim, Officer Ashley Wright, Officer Michael Hanlon, Officer Max Saravia, and Officer John Geary (who was off duty).

Initial reports of the incident did not provide an accurate location of the victim.  Officers at the Dungeon Avenue gate subsequently spotted the location from the street, and ran from Dungeon Avenue over a dirt path to that area, which was several hundred yards into the woods.

Officers Avery and O’Connell shed their duty belts, and turned them over to Officer Kim.  They immediately entered the water in an attempt to rescue the victim. Sergeant Hallisey coordinated the scene, and Officer Beaver acted as a lookout for the drowning individual and for the officers in the water.  Officers Wright, Saravia and Hanlon went to the area where the victim’s hysterical friends were waiting and calmed them down, while also gathering more specific information regarding the victim’s location.  They also preserved the scene for investigation purposes, as well as assisted in monitoring the officers in the water.  Officer Geary ran from his home to the incident location, providing a diving mask to rescue personnel.  A fire department rescuer said afterward that they may not have found the victim without use of the mask.

Officers Avery and O’Connell made prolonged, aggressive attempts to locate the victim at the bottom of the water, which had zero visibility and an abrupt drop a short distance from shore.  Despite these dangers, the officers stayed in the water until Lynn Fire personnel located the victim at a depth of 15 feet, resting on the bottom, approximately 30 feet from shore. Officers assisted in getting him to shore, where paramedics began resuscitation efforts.  The victim was then transported to Union Hospital, and tragically pronounced dead at 1936 hours.

Officer Robert Avery and Officer Michael O’Connell exhibited selfless heroism, dedication to duty, and professionalism under extremely stressful and dangerous circumstances. The actions of these officers went above and beyond the call of duty as they heroically attempted to provide this victim with his best chance of survival.


Arrest of five dangerous individuals for drug, alcohol and firearm related charges

Officer Paul Holey

     On Friday, May 14, 2010, at approximately 0230 Hours, Officer Paul Holey was assigned to a one man patrol unit, and was stopped at a red light on Essex Street when he observed a black Honda Civic travel through the intersection onto Chatham Street.  The vehicle had five occupants inside, and as it passed through the intersection Officer Holey noticed a strong odor of burning marijuana.  He called the plate number into dispatch and learned that there was no current inspection sticker on the vehicle.

Officer Holey could still smell the same strong odor as the vehicle turned onto Marianna Street, and from his training and experience in narcotics, he believed that the subjects in the vehicle were smoking marijuana.  A motor vehicle stop was then conducted on Marianna Street by Officer Holey, who was still alone at the time.

Officer Holey asked the operator for her license and registration and informed her of the reasons for the stop; the strong odor of marijuana coming from her vehicle and her inspection sticker not being valid.  At that time Officer Holey returned to his cruiser and waited for back up units to arrive.  Within minutes, several Lynn units were on the scene including Officer Paul Cotter, Officer John Harkness, Officer Edward Monahan, Officer Michael Surette, Officer Jeffrey Trahant, and Officer Alvin Wolfe.

Once additional police personnel arrived on the scene, Officer Holey returned to the car with the above listed officers and they removed the suspects from the vehicle.  The front passenger was removed first and was searched for contraband. He had no drugs on his person, but did have a large sum of US currency in his front pockets.

Three passengers were then removed from the rear of the vehicle, and were all identified as “baby mafia” gang members, with prior histories of firearm and drug offenses.  Two of the suspects were each found to have a small bag of marijuana on his person, which they both admitted to when removed from the vehicle.  Also found in the vehicle were three open pints and one open 750 ml bottle of alcohol.  Two of the suspects were identified to be under 21 years of age.

A further search of the vehicle was done by Officers Wolfe and Trahant, and Officer Trahant located a .38 caliber handgun in the trunk.  This weapon had an identified serial number and was loaded with five live rounds. Officer Holey gave all five suspects their Miranda Warning, and after being asked, none of the suspects would confess to ownership of the handgun.  The transport wagon was summoned to the scene to transport the suspects.  While waiting for the wagon to arrive, Officer Holey went back to the vehicle to assist in the search, and found a clear plastic bag with a chunk white substance inside the coin holder, which he recognized as crack cocaine.  This bag subsequently weighed in at approximately 7 grams.  At that time, the four male subjects were transported to the police station in the transport van and the female suspect was transported to the station by Officer Harkness (Car 8).  While booking one of the suspects, Officer Holey located three twists of what he believed to be crack cocaine in that party’s hat. Officer Wolfe also seized $819.00 and two cell phones from the same suspect during the booking process. 

During the booking of another of the male suspects, he did state that the handgun was his.  The suspect made this statement with no officer speaking with him, Officer Holey informed him that he had already been given Miranda, and the suspect again stated that the gun was his.  During the booking process, Officer Surette also found two twists of crack cocaine in the socks of this suspect.

Officer Paul Holey exhibited the highest level of professionalism and dedication to duty as he disregarded his own personal safety to stop the suspect vehicle while traveling in a one-man patrol unit. His keen observations and subsequent actions led to the arrest of five known gang members, with prior drug and firearms charges, all with histories of violence.  In addition, a large sum of cash, believed to have been proceeds from illegal drug distribution was also recovered.


Apprehended two armed and dangerous individuals

Officer John Bernard
Officer Gregory Brotherton
Officer Paul Cotter
Officer Thomas Holland
Officer Edward Monahan

     On May 18, 2010, at 0239 Hours, Officers John Harkness and John R. White (Car 16) were sent to 142 Timson Street on a report of a shooting victim. Upon arrival, the officers found a male party with multiple gunshot wounds. The victim was able to give the officers a description of a red Oldsmobile, and also reported two or three suspects wearing dark “hoodies”. They immediately put out a BOLO for these individuals, which included information regarding their vehicle.

Officers Paul Cotter and Edward Monahan (Car 14) took note of this BOLO, and began searching the area for the vehicle. They soon observed a red Oldsmobile matching the description of the suspect vehicle parked on Grant Street, with one male party inside. This individual appeared very nervous, was subsequently identified, and quickly implicated himself and others as being involved in the shooting incident on Timson Street. Officers Cotter and Monahan quickly gathered information about the two passengers, who had just exited the vehicle prior to their arrival and were last seen walking up Grant Street. Both of these individuals were believed to be armed with handguns.

Officers Cotter and Monahan immediately broadcast this information, and the two suspects were quickly spotted by Officer John Bernard (Car 21). The suspects began to run at the sight of Officer Bernard, who initiated a foot pursuit of both parties. The suspects then went in different directions. After hearing one of the parties dispose of what appeared to be a metal object in the driveway of a Grant Street residence, Officer Bernard chased him, tackled him, and a violent struggle ensued. Officer Gregory Brotherton (Car 18), Officer Thomas Holland (Car 20), and Officer Cotter quickly arrived at the scene to assist, and together, the officers were able to subdue the suspect.

Officer Bernard also immediately radioed the information regarding the possible disposal of a weapon in a driveway, and Officer Holland was able to locate two .25 caliber handguns.

Back at the scene of the suspect vehicle, a flat screen TV was found inside the car that was later reported as stolen from a housebreak on Burrill Avenue. A perimeter was set up to search for the other suspect, and a State Police trooper and his K-9 were also brought in. Although there was a lengthy search of the area, the second suspect managed to elude capture. After a follow-up investigation, this individual was identified and warrants are still in effect for his arrest. It was also learned that the two recovered handguns may have been used in other shootings that may have resulted in homicides committed by these suspects.

Due to the quick response, dedication to duty, and total disregard for their own safety, Officers Bernard, Brotherton, Cotter, Holland and Monahan were able to immediately arrest two armed and dangerous felons who had just shot a victim twice during a robbery; and also recover two handguns that may have been tied to several other shootings. Due to the outstand efforts by these officers, two dangerous individuals were taken into custody, and a third suspect has been identified, with warrants outstanding.