Mass. Officers Honored For 'Extraordinary Bravery, Incredible Service'

The MIT police officer who authorities say was killed by the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was among several law enforcement officers recognized for their bravery Wednesday morning.

The family of MIT Officer Sean Collier accepted the George L. Hanna Award from Gov. Deval Patrick in a State House ceremony.

"Extraordinary bravery, incredible service. It’s an honor to be with you all today," Gov. Patrick said.

Seven officers involved in a fierce gun battle with the bombing suspects were also presented medals, including Richard Donohue, a transit police officer who was seriously wounded.

Several other officers, including a K-9, were also recognized for going above and beyond.

Here's a full list of award winners from the governor's office:

Meritorious Recognition

Officers John R. Bernard, Joshua O. Hilton and Paul J. Scali of the Lynn Police Department who subdued a violent suspect who seized an officer’s gun and fired shots at police following a physical struggle.

Sergeant Bret H. LaBelle, Detective Amy Erlandson-LaPointe, Officers Skye A. Robinson, Matthew H. Conley, Wilfredo Coriano, Sean A. Daniely and Steven D. Roe of the Boston Police Department who pursued a violent suspect who refused to surrender following a traffic stop. The officers’ encounter revealed the suspect’s unauthorized use of a rental car, the recovery of a police scanner and a loaded concealed firearm.

Medal of Valor

Officer Christopher E. Alberini and Dax (K-9) of the Ashland Police Department are credited with saving the lives of several fellow officers as they tried to apprehend a threatening suspect. During an attempt to arrest a suspect on active warrants, the suspect fled into a house and hid. Repeated commands to give himself up to authorities were ignored and Officer Alberini and his canine Dax were called to assist. Dax located and engaged the suspect, who had armed himself with a shotgun and several rounds, hiding in the attic. Officer Alberini followed and upon seeing the suspect’s weapon at the ready drew his service weapon and fired, hitting the suspect twice in the torso. Officer Chris Alberini and his canine partner Dax prevented the suspect from using his shotgun on officers who most certainly would have climbed into the attic space to search for him.

Sergeant Peter Z. Shabowich and Officer Justin D. Ellenton of the Danvers Police Department joined in a search for a man suspected of an attempted armed robbery who was located at his apartment. Realizing he had been located by authorities, the suspect armed himself with a knife and attacked the officers. One officer sustained a cut to the arm. The suspect then went after another officer attempting to stab him. Officer Ellenton engaged the suspect with his firearm and Sgt. Shabowich shot the suspect to end the potentially lethal encounter.

Sergeant William F. Hinchey of the Pembroke Police Department was among several officers who responded to 911 calls for a deeply disturbed family member who intended to end his and other family members’ lives. Officers arrived to find a man in a basement bedroom that smelled strongly of gasoline and propane. The suspect, who was deaf, was clutching a propane canister and cigarette lighter threatening to blow up the entire house. With no regard for his own safety, Sgt. Hinchey ordered his officers out of the house as he attempted to deflate the situation. With help from a family member who could sign, he communicated with the suspect and managed to secure the lighter and his hands, thereby avoiding a potentially deadly and destructive tragedy.

Trooper Michael H. Baker of the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Franklin/Hampshire District Attorney’s Office attempted to serve a search warrant on two suspects suspected of selling large amounts of narcotics at his apartment building. With credible information that one subject made numerous threats he’d shoot anyone trying to disrupt his narcotics business, Troopers entered the apartment where Baker found one suspect pointing a rifle at him. Despite repeated orders to drop the weapon the request was ignored. Fearing for his own life and those of others, Trooper Baker discharged his weapon at the suspect, neutralizing the threat. The other suspect immediately surrendered. A large quantity of narcotics was discovered during the search.

Massachusetts State Police Brockton Gang Unit Troopers Erik V. Telford and Francis M. Walls were meeting with a potential confidential informant who wanted to turn in a handgun. While the meeting was underway in their cruiser, a slow moving car drove past their cruiser and fired shots into the informant’s car. When the shooter realized the informant’s car was empty, he exited his vehicle and began walking toward the cruiser while firing at its occupants before fleeing. While Trooper Walls returned fire, he also radioed Brockton Police regarding the incident. With Brockton PD’s assistance, a manhunt ensued and led to the arrest of all three suspects. The capture of these dangerous suspects is due to the courageous acts of Trooper Walls and Trooper Telford, despite this extremely stressful encounter.

Medal of Honor

Watertown Police Officers John C. MacLellan, Joseph B. Reynolds, Timothy B. Menton and Sergeant Jeffrey J. Pugliese, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Christopher J. Dumont, and MBTA Officers Richard H. Donohue and Lucas J. Kitto receive Medals of Honor. They are being recognized for their bravery and heroic actions in the chaotic and deadly circumstances following the ambush and murder of an MIT Police Officer as a nationwide manhunt was underway for the perpetrators of the terrorist rampage that occurred at the Boston Marathon finish line in April 2013.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Officer Sean A. Collier is awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Collier was shot and killed on duty while parked on campus as he encountered the Marathon bombing suspects. His ultimate sacrifice set in motion the events that would lead to the police response resulting in the death of one alleged terrorist and the capture of another.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on November 19, 2014.


More from WBUR

Listen Live