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Thousands Mourn Woburn Officer, Question Parole For Killer

Woburn police officers line up before the news conference announcing an officer's death in Woburn Monday. (AP)

Woburn police officers line up before the news conference announcing an officer's death in Woburn Monday. (AP)

WOBURN, Mass. — Woburn Police Officer John Maguire will be laid to rest on Friday.

Maguire was killed the day after Christmas during a firefight with a man trying to rob the jewelry counter at the Kohl’s department store in Woburn. Mourners at Thursday’s wake were not just sad, but angry.

Around 2,000 police officers from all over the state showed up to honor Maguire. They wore their dress uniforms and marched single file into the small funeral home in Woburn.

“When a police officer dies tragically like this in a gunfight, it drives the point home how fragile we are and how fragile this profession is,” said Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith.

While the officers took their turns paying their respects to Maguire inside, family, friends and neighbors waited on the street for their turn.

Marietta Laroche worked at the Kohl’s where Maguire was shot, and knew Maguire’s son from a previous job at a local movie theater.

“He was stern, firm with his kids,” LaRoche said. “Funny. A really excellent guy you could talk to.”

State Rep. Jim Dwyer, from Woburn, says 60-year-old Maguire was “laid back,” committed to public service, and “very funny.”

“It was so sad, he had over a 30-year career and he was set to retire and enjoy his family and his children, and this happens,” Dwyer said. “It’s a travesty.”

“When a police officer dies tragically like this in a gunfight, it drives the point home how fragile we are and how fragile this profession is.”
– Wakefield Police Chief Rick Smith

Dwyer didn’t want to talk about the circumstances around Maguire’s death — he said it’s too early for that. But that didn’t stop many others from criticizing the state’s Parole Board for releasing the man who shot Maguire, Dominic Cinelli.

Cinelli was out on parole even though he’d been sentenced to three life terms in prison. Many mourners also criticized the Parole Board for not notifying the district attorney’s office, as is law. The Middlesex district attorney says he would have opposed the release.

“Would this have even happened if everyone was doing their job?” asked mourner Jean Ganji as she watched the police line up to enter the wake.

Ganji lives in Somerville, but her son lives in Woburn and knew Maguire.

Here’s what she had to say about Cinelli, the man who shot him, and also died in the firefight:

“I hate to say this, but I’m kind of glad he didn’t walk away.”

State Rep. Jay Kaufman, from Lexington, said he didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but it certainly appears “something may have gone wrong.”

“We better figure out whether it’s a systemic problem that we can fix, or whether it’s just one of those circumstances that we can’t fix,” said Kaufman. “Human judgment is always going to be faulty.”

State public safety officials say they are reviewing Cinelli’s parole hearings and his conduct while in prison. They expect to finish in the next 10 days. They also want to come up with a fool-proof system to notify the district attorney’s office when a convict comes up for parole.

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