Yarmouth police officer Sean Gannon was shot as he attempted to serve a warrant to a suspect with a long criminal history.
The Irish American Police Officers Association's (IAPOA) most prestigious award, the Medal of Honor, will be presented posthumously to Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon and Weymouth Police Sgt. Michael Chesna.
Sgt. Gannon was killed in the line of duty in April 2018, and Sgt. Chesna was killed in the line of duty in July 2018.
"These award recipients have exhibited a remarkable dedication to serving and protecting their communities, and have gone above and beyond to perform police work of the highest quality," said IAPOA President Robert Sweetland.
"This awards dinner is a wonderful way to recognize and celebrate their efforts and to honor the men and women that keep our communities safe every day."
The man accused of the murder of Yarmouth Irish police officer Sean Gannon has pleaded not guilty to the crime.
A large number of Gannon’s Cape Cod fellow police officers gathered in court in April 2018 to look on as Thomas M. Latanowich, 29, pleaded not guilty to shooting the K-9 officer in the head as he attempted to serve a warrant.
Latanowich has a lengthy criminal history and Gannon was serving a warrant after the 29-year-old broke the terms of his probation.
Gannon’s dog Nero was also gravely injured in the shooting and underwent surgery after being shot in the face and neck.
Authorities allege that Gannon was shot by Latanowich at 2.30 pm on Thursday as he entered the attic in pursuit of the suspect. Latanowich was ordered held without bail in court and was led away by police officers.
With a heavy heart 💙, our condolences go out tonight to our brothers & sisters of the @yarmouthpolice & to Officer Sean Gannon's family & friends. We are also praying tonight for the recovery of Officer Gannon's K9 partner, who was also injured in today's tragic incident.#LODD pic.twitter.com/9ITeLFi3bq— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) April 13, 2018
Gannon and two other police officers were searching a home at 109 Blueberry Lane in Marstons Mills, a village in Barnstable, when the fatal shooting took place. They were seeking to arrest Latanowich for violating his probation for a case in 2010 when he pleaded guilty to drug and gun charges. He was taken into custody again within an hour of the shooting.
“Sean was a wonderful, wonderful young man,” said Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson. “We’re going to miss him terribly.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker also extended his condolences:
“I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Officer Gannon and my thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones, and the Yarmouth Police Department after this tragic loss,” he said in a statement.
Latanowich is said to have an extended adult criminal history with 28 cases against him in Barnstable district court alone. This includes a four-year state prison term and more than 110 entries on his criminal history.
Charges include a 2016 arrest in which he allegedly strangled a pregnant woman and vandalized her vehicle.
Gannon was a well-known K9 officer who also volunteered in the Big Brother project. He had served for eight years, initially joining Stonehill College Police Department and serving as a summer officer in Nantucket before joining Yarmouth Police Department.
*Updated from April 2018 to reflect IAPOA award.