Detective Michael Kelter
On April 20, 2013 at approximately 2330 hours, Detectives Michael Kelter and Edward Pettipas responded to the Post 6 on North Common Street on a report of shots fired. The bar had been the site of a spate of recent fights and disturbances. Upon arrival, they received a description of the suspected shooter, and as they were pulling into the parking lot, the detectives observed a male party who matched the suspect’s description and was also known to them from previous encounters exiting the building. Detectives Kelter and Pettipas immediately confronted this individual, who was approximately 6’4” and 275 lbs. A fierce struggle began, and Detective Kelter quickly located a gun in the suspect’s waistband while Detective Pettipas tried to gain control of this much larger individual. After several minutes, Detective Kelter freed the long barreled revolver from the suspect’s waistband, and he was placed under arrest for illegal handgun possession.
Detective Kelter and Detective Pettipas exhibited courage and professionalism in confronting and apprehending an armed and dangerous suspect, who showed little regard for human life. Their actions reflect positively upon themselves and the Lynn Police Department.
Officer Benjamin Chez
On July 14, 2013, at approximately 0500 hours, Officer Benjamin Chez and Officer Rodolfo Ramirez, were dispatched to a Timson Street residence on a report of a party in the driveway waving a gun. The caller hung up without providing dispatch with a description of the suspect or any other additional information. Officers had previously been dispatched to this address at approximately 0200 hours on a report of a fight; where upon arrival they encountered a large and disorderly crowd and subsequently arrested an individual for disorderly conduct.
As Officer Chez and Officer Ramirez were in route, Officer Richard Courtney (Car #12) advised that he was on scene and was awaiting back-up. Officer Chez and Officer Ramirez arrived along with Officer John Harkness (Car #8). All four officers approached the address in a tactical and coordinated manner, having parked their cruisers out of view so that they could approach and assess the situation on foot. They were able to walk up to the residence undetected where they observed two males standing in the driveway. With no description available the officers could not focus on either individual as the suspect, and therefore loudly and clearly identified themselves as Lynn Police and ordered both males to “show their hands”. Neither individual had time to flee or react because of the tactical and professional manner in which the officers executed their approach.
Officers Ramirez and Courtney quickly secured one of the individuals, while Officers Chez and Harkness secured the other. The officers conducted pat frisks of each individual, which resulted in Officer Chez locating a loaded 9mm handgun tucked into the waistband of one of the male party’s pants. Officer Chez then placed the suspect on the ground and safely removed the handgun without further incident. The suspect was placed into custody and was transported to the station where he was charged with Carrying a Loaded Firearm, Carrying a Firearm Without a License, and Being a Felon in Possession of a Firearm. A BOP processed during booking revealed that the suspect had 32 prior arraignments dating back to 2005, to include numerous felony arrests and convictions, including drug and weapons charges.
Officer Chez, Officer Courtney, Officer Harkness and Officer Ramirez demonstrated the highest level of courage and professionalism by placing themselves in a potentially dangerous situation with limited information. Their actions resulted in a safe, efficient and tactical arrest, placing an armed felon in custody, removing a weapon from the streets and preventing a dangerous situation from becoming tragic.
Officer Peter Alexander
On April 30, 2013, at approximately 1854 hours, LPD units responded to an Essex Street location on the report of a suicidal person on the roof who threatening to jump. Upon arriving on scene, the responding officers observed that the home was a three-story building with an extreme pitch to the roof, and that there was a male party who could be seen on the roof.
Officer Peter Alexander, Officer Michael O’Connell, Officer Ralph Sirois, and Officer Oren Wright immediately responded to the third floor and entered a loft area that had a skylight, giving them access to the roof. At that point, the victim was at the peak, obviously distraught, and threatening to jump. Officer O’Connell was familiar with this individual, and was able to begin a conversation with him. After several minutes, Officer O’Connell was able to convince him to come in off the roof. As the person was attempting to get down to the skylight, he lost his balance and was in danger of falling. Officers O’Connell and Alexander were able to reach through the limited opening and grab hold of the victim, keeping him from falling. Officer Wright then assisted, and was also able to take hold of the male party, but the skylight opening was too narrow to get him back into the house.
Arrangements were then made to have Lynn Fire get a ladder on the roof to assist, while Officers O’Connell, Alexander and Wright maintained their hold on the victim, continuing to prevent him from falling. Officer Sirois then provided immediate assistance by disconnecting a support piece that prevented the skylight from opening fully. The officers were then able to drag the male party back into the house and to safety.
The swift response, calm and professional demeanor, and physically demanding intervention by Officers Alexander, O’Connell and Wright enabled them rescue a distraught and suicidal person, saving him from what could have been serious, if not fatal injuries. Had they not acted in such a manner, it is likely that the victim would have fallen from the roof and suffered serious, if not fatal injuries.Officer Sirois’ prompt response and his quick assessment of the scene enabled him to identify and correct the impediment that was preventing the other officers from safely guiding the victim inside to safety. Officer Sirois demonstrated keen powers of observation and good judgment, which were essential to the positive outcome of this incident.
Officer Michael Crosby
On Saturday June 15, 2013, Officer Michael Crosby was off-duty, and attending a family wedding with his wife at a banquet facility on the campus of Philips-Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. Sometime during the reception, the bride’s grandfather had gone onto the dance floor to dance with his daughter. Once the dance had ended, he walked over to his table and collapsed in front of several family members, going into full cardiac arrest.
Family members rushed to help him, but based on his color and unresponsiveness at that time, it appeared that it was probably too late. Officer Crosby then came to the table and according to a family member, “took over the whole scene.” Officer Crosby began to direct people away from the victim, and instructed others to get 911 services activated.
Meanwhile, an off-duty nurse who was also attending the wedding offered her assistance, and Officer Crosby told her to do compressions while he continued with rescue breaths. Another individual at the scene then came into the room with a portable defibrillator that had been located in a nearby hallway inside a wall case. Officer Crosby began attaching the defibrillator to the stricken individual, while he simultaneously attempted to keep family away from the victim and continued to provide CPR. The defibrillator advised that a shock should be administered to the victim, and the device worked as designed. Paramedics arrived shortly after that to take over the scene and eventually transported the victim to a local hospital.
Later during the reception several of the family members at the wedding received word from others who had accompanied the ambulance to the hospital that the victim was conscious and alert. He is now recovering after having surgery to implant a pacemaker and is doing very well at home.
Officer Crosby displayed the highest level of professionalism by utilizing his training and skills to provide immediate medical assistance to a stricken individual. What was described by the family member as “a horrific and chaotic scene” was quickly brought under control by Officer Michael Crosby, and a life was saved.
Officer Benjamin Chez
On Saturday, March 30, 2013, Officers Daniel Landry, Benjamin Chez and Michael McHale responded to Valley Avenue on a report of a disturbance. This area had been the source of another police response for a similar problem earlier that night. Upon arrival the officers could not immediately locate any type of disturbance, however, as they continued to patrol the area and to proactively seek to identify the source of the problem, Officers Landry and Chez observed two male parties in the yard of a High Rock Street residence.
After exiting their cruiser, the officers approached these individuals, and subsequently identified them. Officer Landry immediately recognized the first party as a known gang member, with a lengthy criminal history. The officers also observed that the second male was intoxicated, and also noted that he was evasive when they questioned him. When the second suspect started to turn away from the officers, Officer Landry engaged him further and then conducted a pat frisk.
At the same time, Officer Chez engaged the first suspect, and attempted to pat frisk him as well. By that time, Office McHale had also arrived on scene. As Officer Chez attempted to conduct the frisk, the first suspect started to push the officer’s hands away, and stated that “he didn’t have anything.” Officer Chez demonstrated strong tactical skills and professionalism by explaining the purpose for the pat frisk, while continuing to remain focused on the suspect. As he did so, Officer Chez then felt the impression of what he recognized as a firearm in the suspect’s pocket. Officer Chez advised Officer Landry of what he found, and attempted to recover the firearm. At the same time, the resisting male attempted to retrieve the firearm from his pocket, while continuing to try to push Officer Chez away from him.
Officer Landry immediately joined Officer Chez in trying to gain control of the suspect, to keep him from accessing the firearm. A physical struggle ensued, during which the officers and the first male party fell to the ground, as the suspect continued to violently resist being taken into custody and to try to reach the firearm. The officers were finally able to gain control of the struggling suspect, placed him in custody, and also seized the firearm from him. The firearm was later identified as a 6.35 caliber handgun that was loaded with six .25 caliber bullets.
While Officers Landry and Chez were engaged in a physical struggle with the first suspect, Officer McHale stepped in to gain control of the second male party and he then placed the intoxicated male in handcuffs, to ensure that he could not provide an additional threat to Officers Landry and Chez during their struggle with the armed male party. As other individuals emerged on the scene from nearby locations, Officer McHale demonstrated command presence by continuing to maintain control of the second suspect, while also ensuring that no one who had later arrived could come to the aid of either of the suspects in custody.Officer Chez, Officer Landry, and Officer McHale demonstrated diligence and initiative by exiting their cruiser to identify these individuals, as part of their effort to address the ongoing problems in the area. Their actions reflected the highest level of professionalism and courage, as they disregarded their own personal safety during their struggle with an armed and violent known gang member, as well as another potentially violent suspect.
Sergeant Michael Kmiec
On March 24, 2013, at approximately 2352 hours, units were dispatched to Lewis Street for a report of a working fire. Car 14 (Officers M. Nerich and P. Wonoski), Car 15 (Officers P. Panacopoulos and R. Muth), Car 8 (Officer Trahant), and S2 (Sergeant M. Kmiec) all responded to the scene. Officers Wonoski and Nerich arrived, and observed a rapidly spreading fire at the front and rear doors of the building, with a tremendous amount of smoke. Lynn Fire personnel also arrived on scene.
Officer Wonoski checked the rear of the building, which was also on fire. He located five individuals (three young children and two adults) standing on a rear fire escape that was extremely narrow. Officer Wonoski quickly climbed the fire escape and escorted the family down. He handed the children to Officers Panacopoulos and Muth who were waiting below, and assisted the adults down.
Officers Nerich and Trahant were on the north side of the building where they located two individuals on the first floor, and assisted them out of the windows. After moving them to safety, responding officers continued to check for people trapped by the fire. Within a few minutes Sergeant Kmiec and Officer Panacopoulos observed two more individuals looking out of the first floor windows. They alerted firefighters of the trapped residents and assisted firefighters in pulling them to safety.
A Lynn Fire Department District Chief and one of the first responding firefighters each made it a point to praise the efforts of the Lynn police personnel on scene for their invaluable help. Sergeant Kmiec and Officers Muth, Nerich, Panacopoulos, Trahant, Wonoski acted quickly and without regard for their own personal safety, in order to help save the lives of several of the residents. Their prompt response, professionalism, and compassion during a chaotic scene are a credit to our department. The officers demonstrated the highest level of courage and dedication to duty by placing themselves at risk of serious bodily injury under extremely dangerous conditions. In addition, despite having just endured the physical challenges of this incident; they demonstrated tremendous professionalism by gathering all the evacuees to ensure that they received necessary medical treatment and relief services, while also conducting interviews to verify that all residents were safely out of the building.
Officer Brian Chisholm
On Monday, April 15, 2103, Lynn Police Department Officer Brian Chisholm was off duty and working as a credentialed volunteer for the Boston Athletic Association during the Boston Marathon. Officer Chisholm was performing the duties of a Finish Line Medical Sweep. The normal duties of this position include looking for runners in distress, moving them out of the flow of other runners and providing aid, or moving them up the medical chain for additional attention.
At approximately 2:50 PM, Officer Chisholm and other members of his team were on Boylston Street approximately three hundred feet from the finish line, when there was an explosion. He recognized it as a bomb blast and knew that it had gone off on the sidewalk where a large number of spectators were standing. Eleven seconds later there was a second bomb blast further down Boylston Street, but his view was obscured due to the smoke from the initial blast. Following the two bomb blasts, Officer Chisholm and his partner continued to hold their sweep positions, as runners were still coming through their assigned area. The Sweep Team captain soon arrived at Officer Chisholm’s location, and relayed that the Boston Athletic Association wanted them to hold their positions. The Sweep Team members did so while discussing the possibility of a third bomb, or even a “dirty bomb”.
The Sweep Team then received a request from the Boston Police Department for more help at the Medical tent. Officer Chisholm volunteered, and along with others, reported to the designated location. Arriving at the site of the first blast, Officer Chisholm noted that the area was covered with victims, body parts and blood. He immediately joined others in rendering medical aid to a gravely injured woman. He positioned the victim while CPR was being administered, and then assisted in moving the patient to a stretcher and then into the Medical tent and the care of a physician.
Once this patient was placed on a cot, Officer Chisholm retuned to the blast site in the event that anyone else still needed medical care, but the scene was secure. He then returned to his assigned zone and assisted runners who had become lost or disoriented due to the blasts. When his duties were completed, he returned home.
Though only a football field away from two bomb blasts Officer Chisholm held his assigned post and continued to assist runners. Even as the possibility of another bomb or a “dirty bomb” was raised, he immediately responded to the blast site when volunteers were requested. Although he met with a horrific scene at the blast site, Officer Chisholm quickly joined with others in rendering medical aid to a gravely injured party. Once this individual had been transferred to a higher medical level, he immediately returned to the blast scene in order to treat other victims. Finding the site cleared of victims; Officer Chisholm then returned to his original assignment and continued to assist disoriented runners.
In the immediate aftermath of what was found to be a terrorist attack, Officer Chisholm’s actions clearly demonstrate his devotion to duty and to his fellow man, and reflect great character and true heroism. His actions on April 15, 2013 are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Lynn Police Department.
Lieutenant Peter Holey
On July 21, 2012, Lynn and State Police were assigned to, and assisting in a federal investigation involving federal court ordered wiretap warrants. Beginning with the initial surveillance to the culmination of a felony motor vehicle stop on Ingalls Street, the above named individuals acted with a high degree of restraint and extraordinary professionalism. Based on the facts known to them through the court ordered wiretaps, the suspects’ plan of an armed home invasion in which drugs and cash were to be taken became operational, and therefore posed an immediate threat to human life and public safety. The officers, who had knowledge that the suspects were heavily armed with at least one shotgun, developed probable cause to stop the two suspect vehicles to prevent the targets from harming anyone. With sufficient resources in place to make the stops, the suspect vehicles were stopped and the occupants were ordered to show their hands and not move. The occupants failed to follow these commands and the driver of one of the vehicles immediately rammed a police vehicle forcing it into a second unmarked cruiser. Fearing for their safety and the safety of innocent bystanders, shots were fired by the officers and the suspects were apprehended. A total of three firearms were eventually recovered from these vehicles including a loaded .357 Magnum and a loaded 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, in addition to the 12 gauge shotgun.
A subsequent investigation into the officer-involved shooting by District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett resulted in “the conclusion that the officers were justified in their use of deadly force in order to save themselves and possibly others from serious harm or even death.”
Because of the courageous actions of these officers and in keeping in line with the highest honors and traditions of the Lynn Police Department, I hereby order that Lieutenant Peter Holey, Detectives Stephen Withrow, Richard Fucci, Ross Panacopoulos, and Robert Avery, and Officers Paul Holey and Paul Wonoski be commended for their actions. A copy of this order will be placed in each of their personnel files.
In addition, I would like to thank Massachusetts State Trooper Michael Forni for his brave and heroic actions during this incident. Trooper Forni was Detective Avery’s partner that evening and was side by side with our officers during this encounter. Trooper Forni’s actions were reflective of his professionalism and dedication to duty as well as his commitment to his fellow law enforcement officers and the citizens of Lynn. I will forward a copy of this commendation to State Police Colonel Timothy Alben with a request that he likewise officially recognize Trooper Forni.