Dad Says Lowell Officer Who Drowned Was ‘Great Son’

PELHAM, N.H. (CBS) – Even as they grieve the death of their son, a Lowell police officer who drowned in the Merrimack River in Tyngsboro on Saturday night, the parents laugh as they recall how driven their son was.

His parents recall that even as a child, Charles “P.J.” Panek was Gung-ho about the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, later became an Eagle Scout, joined the military and just kept going.

“Always reaching for the next level and he achieved them, you know. He had a master’s degree from UMass (in) criminal justice, which he did attain in like three years worth of time,” said Panek’s father Charles.

WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports.

Panek, who joined the Lowell police force in 2006, earned the Medal of Valor for subduing an armed suspect in 2008.

“We really had a team effort to try to hopefully recover Officer Panek, and we were hoping that he would be OK, that somehow he made his way to shore,” said Kenneth Lavallee, the Lowell Police superintendent.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports.

He was well-respected by everyone who knew him.

“Well he was a great son, you know, somebody that I looked up to,” said Panek’s father Charles.

  • Willow

    My deepest sympathy to this family. How sad the world seems to have lost one that could have made such a difference. With all this young man has accomplished in so short of a time, how tragic and unbelievable that he would drown. It makes no sense.

  • A friend

    PJ was a great guy. By far the most motivated person I have ever met. Having known him has made me a better person. I have many fond memories of him and will always remember his quirky attitude towards life. He will be greatly missed. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

  • tsal

    This story is so tragic. A young man’s life cut far to short by an horrible accident. My thoughts and prayers are with P.J’s family and friends.

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