AUBURN - Among members of the police force here who lost fellow Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. to a gunman’s bullet during a traffic stop two years ago, news of the slaying last week of Yarmouth Officer Sean Gannon while serving a warrant hit home.
“As a group, we’re very frustrated,” Auburn Detective Sgt. R. Scott Mills said Sunday. “It appears we haven’t learned anything as a society from all these (officers) killed.”
Yarmouth K-9 Officer Gannon, 32, was shot and killed and his police dog Nero badly wounded while serving a warrant in Marston Mills onThursday.
Accused shooter Thomas Latanowich, 29, of Somerville, taken into custody and charged with murder, has a lengthy criminal record with more than 100 offenses, according to police.
The tragedy on Cape Cod has been felt in this town where Officer Tarentino, a 42-year-old father of three, was fatally shot in the back with a stolen semi-automatic handgun during a traffic stop in May 2016. Alleged killer Jorge Zambrano, a convicted cocaine trafficker with a history of assaults on police officers, later died in a shootout with state police.
When Yarmouth police took to social media this weekend to convey sorrow and outrage about the slaying of Officer Gannon, Auburn police tweeted and posted in support.
“We agree with the sentiment and anger that they are sharing, having gone through a very similar situation less than two years ago with Officer Tarentino,” Sgt. Mills posted to the Auburn police Facebook page Saturday. “Things need to change and hopefully something positive will come from this.”
On Sunday, Sgt. Mills on Twitter shared a link from Yarmouth police to a Change.org petition, “Justice for Officer Gannon and Officer Nero.” The petition, addressed to Massachusetts state and federal lawmakers, calls for an overhaul of the state judicial system, and had nearly 18,000 signatures as of Sunday afternoon.
The petition reads, in part: “Our police officers are out putting their lives on the line daily for the safety of the people of the Commonwealth and their hard work is for (naught) when career criminals are allowed to walk free from a courthouse. How many known violent criminals are walking freely in public awaiting their next court date instead of sitting in a cell where they belong?”
Sgt. Mills, sharing the link to the petition via Twitter, recalled past officers killed in the line of duty in incidents involving career criminals out on the street.
“As you consider signing it,” he wrote, “remember these names: Gannon, Tarentino, Maguire, Briggs, Charbonnier, Rose. Things need to change.”
Sgt. Mills said he made the posts to Twitter and Facebook at the request of Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis.
Sgt. Mills also said he expects eight to 10 Auburn officers will attend both Officer Gannon’s wake on Tuesday and funeral on Wednesday.
FULL COVERAGE IN CAPE COD TIMES