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Weymouth Vigil Remembers Victims Of Fatal Shooting03:06
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Nearly 2,500 people joined a vigil at Weymouth High School for a police officer and elderly bystander who were shot and killed by a man on Sunday. (Yasmin Amer/WBUR)
Nearly 2,500 people joined a vigil at Weymouth High School for a police officer and elderly bystander who were shot and killed by a man on Sunday. (Yasmin Amer/WBUR)
This article is more than 3 years old.

About 2,500 people filled the stands of the Weymouth High School football stadium Monday night to pay their respects to 42-year-old police officer Michael Chesna and 77-year-old Vera Adams, who were both killed Sunday.

Monday would have been the six-year anniversary of Officer Chesna joining the Weymouth Police Department.

Instead, police Chief Rick Grimes posthumously promoted him to lieutenant.

Several of the vigil’s attendees say showing support for law enforcement is a big part of why they wanted to come out, including Rob Abbadessa, a nurse at the South Shore Hospital emergency room. He knew Chesna, who often responded to 911 calls from the ER.

"Michael is a level-headed and easygoing guy. He protected us and that’s more than we could’ve asked for. His first order seemed to be to protect the staff at the hospital," he said.

Chesna's death hit Abbadessa particularly hard, because Abbadessa was the one who initially called 911 Sunday morning.

"The perpetrator almost hit me. I had to swerve from Route 18 and I was the one who called in the erratic driver — only to get a call from my brother several hours later to let me know what happened," he said.

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That alleged perpetrator is 20-year-old Emanuel Lopes. Police say he threw a rock at Chesna’s head, knocking him down. They say he then stole the officer’s gun and shot him 10 times.

Weymoth Mayor Robert Hedlund believes the subsequent shooting of Adams was also deliberate.

"We also lost an innocent woman who wanted nothing more than to have a cup of coffee in her sun porch and watch the sun on a beautiful summer morning," he said.

Hedlund said he'll work to restore the belief that police officers are the good guys.

Grimes said Chesna’s murder is a wake-up call and a reminder of the dangers police officers face every day. He said he's especially concerned about the scrutiny of officers following high-profile use of force cases across the country.

"I am not happy. I knew this would come. I prayed it wouldn’t come to Weymouth. Not to my police family. But it did," he said.

Chesna’s parents, Minnie and Chuckie Chesna, thanked the community for their support.

"My son would be so proud and I have never been prouder to be from Weymouth," said Minnie.

Now-lieutenant Chesna leaves behind a wife and two young children. Adams, a widow, will be remembered by friends and neighbors.

A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney's office says Lopes is recovering after being shot in the leg by police. When he is medically able to be arraigned, he'll be charged with two counts of murder.

This segment aired on July 17, 2018.

Related:

Yasmin Amer Twitter Producer, Kind World
Yasmin Amer is a producer and reporter for WBUR’s Kind World podcast.

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