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Violent day in Weymouth, Mass., claims officer, elderly woman

The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.

July 15. 2018 10:03PM
The scene where a Weymouth, Mass., police officer was critically shot on Burton Terrace and Torrey Street on Sunday. (Staff photo by Matt Stone)

A 20-year-old man has been charged with fatally shooting a 42-year-old Weymouth, Mass., police officer and an elderly woman in her home on Torrey Street , shortly after 7:32 a.m. Sunday, according to police.

David Traub a spokesman for Norfolk County District Attorney Michael Morrissey said the suspect identified as Emanuel Lopes, 20 is being held in connection with the shootings.

"He recently added an address in Brockton and has an address in Weymouth," Traub said. "We believe he resides in Weymouth."

Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Chris Mason said Weymouth police received a call about an erratic driver in the vicinity of South Shore Hospital.

"There was a single car accident in this area," he said during a press briefing shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday. "The operator was observed leaving the car. The police department responded and began to look for this person, the local area. One of those officers was Michael Chesna."

Mason said Chesna observed Lopes vandalizing a home.

"He exited his police vehicle and commanded the suspect to stop," Mason said. "The suspect, ...Emanuel Lopes,...attacked the officer with a stone to the head and Officer Chesna fell down.

He said Lopes then grabbed Chesna's firearm and fired several shots that struck the officer's head and chest.

"Additional officers from the Weymouth police department responded and were able to return fire at this time," Mason said. "Mr. Lopes is believed to have been hit once on his leg in the lower part beneath his knees."

He said Lopes led the pursuing officers on a foot chase that began in the area of Burton Terrace which is near the hospital and Torrey Street.

"He maintained control of the officer's firearm during the foot chase through the yards of Burton Terrace," Mason said. "It is believed that Mr. Lopes discharged Officer Chesna's firearm three times, striking a local resident in her home. These wounds were fatal to her."

Traub said it appears multiple shots were fired into the woman's home on Torrey Street . A dozen shell casings was on the ground near the house which had bullet holes in its window, according to WCVB-TV, a News media partner.

Mason said the woman's identity has not been revealed because police have not completed notifying her next of kin.

"Mr. Lopes was soon apprehended after the foot chase by the Weymouth Police Department," he said. "He was transported to South Shore Hospital for non-life threatening injuries."

Mason said Lopes has been charged with two counts of homicide and he will be arraigned on the charges tomorrow.

"It is unknown at this time if that arraignment will occur in a hospital or at a courthouse," Mason said. "The District Attorney Michael Morrissey and our entire office extend our sympathy to both victims.

Police Chief Richard Grimes said Chesna worked on the midnight shift and was nearing the end of his watch when he received a call about the erratic driver near the hospital.

"He is a family man and leaves a wife and two young children ages four and nine," Grimes said. "Officer Chesna was an Army veteran. I was speaking with his mom this morning and she told me he joined the military to help open the doors for him to get on this job." Chesna took the police officer oath Dec. 12, 2012 when he was sworn into duty with Officers Holbrook and Joseph Sgambato Jr shortly after they graduated from the police academy.

Chesna, a 1994 Weymouth High School graduate, said in a December 2012 News report that he would have no hesitation about upholding the law if a suspect happened to be an acquaintance he grew up with.

"I have a job to do and my job is no different than if my classmate was a dentist," Chesna said before being sworn into his duties by Town Clerk Kathleen Deree. If that is what your job is you do it."

Grimes said he Chessna would have marked his sixth year of being appointed a police candidate, on Monday.

"He was assigned to the traffic division," Grimes said. "He was a great family man. He was a great officer. I would see him in the morning coming in from the street. He always had a kind word and a good attitude. He was one of those people who truly sought this job and was fortunate enough to get it. He very much appreciated it and we very much appreciate his service to the Weymouth police department. Our concerns right now are with Mike's family as well as my Weymouth police department family going forward."

Councilor-at-large Michael Molisse said grief counselors came to police headquarters to assist officers.

"The officers have a tough road ahead of them," said Molisse, whose brother Paul is a Weymouth officer. "This is a terrible tragedy. Who would have thought that this would happen in South Weymouth at 7 a.m.?"

Molisse said there is a lot of activity in the area where the shooting took place and it is fortunate more people were not injured or killed.

"You have two churches there," he said. "The hospital was changing shifts." Molisse said the police staff is receiving an outpouring of support from residents, businesses and state officials.

" Rep. James Murphy, Sen. Patrick O'Connor and myself were at the station this morning," he said. "There are people bringing food to the station. It is just amazing."

Molisse said police from nearby towns are offering to cover work shifts for Weymouth officers that receiving grief counseling.

"The grief has hit the whole department hard," he said.

Police saluted the fallen officer outside South Shore Hospital on Route 18 Sunday afternoon when Chesna's body was transported to the chief medical examiner's office in Boston.

Lining the streets were more than 50 police cruisers and motorcycles, their drivers standing at attention in the street.

Liz O'Herron stood at the roadside clutching a handful of small American flags, choking back tears as she remembered a man she said she saw just yesterday.

"I saw him and he said 'I'll see you tomorrow,'" she said, clutching her chest. "He was the best guy in the world. Nobody could say a bad thing about Mike. I just can't believe it." Mayor Robert Hedlund said the shooting of Chesna is "tragic and devastating."

"This is the toughest time this community has seen in a long time," he said. " ....wer're talking about a native son of the town."

Molisse residents are also expressing their grief by leaving flowers outside the police station on Winter Street.

"Everybody is in shock, but the crowd over at the station is amazing," he said. "It says a lot about our community."

Patriot Ledger reporter Mary Whitfill and News media partner WCVB-TV contributed to this report.

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