BOSTON — A Massachusetts police officer who was shot about 10 times with his own service weapon was described by community members on Monday as a loving and compassionate family man who had long aspired to be a police officer.
Weymouth officer Michael Chesna and an innocent bystander, 77-year-old Vera Adams, were killed on Sunday. The man charged in their deaths, Emanuel Lopes, 20, will either be arraigned at his hospital bedside or in court, possibly Tuesday. His attorney had no immediate comment.
Police were responding to a report of a person driving erratically Sunday morning when they discovered a crashed BMW, said Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey.
Chesna was trying to locate the driver of the vehicle, Morrissey said, when he spotted Lopes allegedly vandalizing a home. That’s when Lopes hit Chesna in the head with a rock. Chesna fell to the ground, and Lopes took the officer’s gun and repeatedly shot him, Morrissey said. According to a police report, Chesna was shot approximately five times in the head and five times in the torso and legs.
Another officer who had arrived at the scene shot Lopes in the leg. Lopes then fled and fired shots into a nearby home, killing Adams, Morrissey said.
Neighbors described Adams, a widow, as a quiet, generous spirit. Outside her simple, two-story home, mourners placed flowers, candles, balloons and an American flag.
Chesna was a 42-year-old Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran who leaves behind a wife and two children, ages 9 and 4. He was from Weymouth and graduated from Weymouth High School in 1994. Chesna attended Northeastern University, majoring in criminal justice. He met his wife while working at a bar in Quincy, using the funds to pay for his education.
Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes said he had spoken to Chesna’s mother and she told him that her son joined the military “to open the doors to get in this job.”
“He always had a kind word and a good attitude. We very much appreciated his service to the Weymouth Police Department,” said Grimes.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday that the killings show the dangers police can encounter at any moment.
“This is just a terrible tragedy and it’s one that should remind us, if we need to be reminded, that the men and women in our law enforcement community every single day have the potential to walk into a life-threatening situation,” Baker said.
A vigil for the victims was held Monday night at Weymouth High School.