BARNSTABLE (CBS) – The career criminal charged with killing a Yarmouth Police officer is being held without bail after pleading not guilty to a murder charge Friday.
Prosecutors said Tom Latanowich, 29, of Somerville, shot officer Sean Gannon as officers were serving an arrest warrant at a home on Blueberry Lane in Marstons Mills Thursday afternoon.
Gannon died. He was 32 years old. His K9 partner, Nero, was seriously wounded. Police said he survived emergency surgery Friday.
Latanowich was arrested after a standoff with police at the home. He was arraigned in Barnstable District Court Friday. Latanowich kept his head down, looking away from the courtroom, which was full of police officers, five rows deep.
Gannon and Nero were shot during a sweep of the suspect’s attic, according to the prosecutors. Latanowich was charged with one count of murder and one count of mistreating a police dog. He will be back in court June 26 for a probable cause hearing.
Police officers were back at the Blueberry Lane home on Friday afternoon searching for evidence. Firefighters cut holes in the roof of the home and investigators entered the attic. Officers were also digging in the backyard of the home.
Sources tell the WBZ I-Team Latanowich disassembled the gun he allegedly used to shoot Gannon and hid the pieces in different parts of the house.
Yarmouth Police described Latanowich back in 2016 as “a notorious and violent criminal with 111 prior criminal charges.” The Massachusetts Probation Service told WBZ Latanowich was most recently released from jail on June 26, 2014 and his five-year probation period was scheduled to end on November 1, 2018.
“Latanowich’s conditions of probation included random drug screens, a mental health evaluation, complete anger management programming, stay away/no contact, and maintain employment,” spokesperson Coria Holland, said in an email Friday. “On April 4, 2018, Latanowich was not home for a home visit, failed to appear for a drug test on April 5, 2018 and a warrant was issued for his arrest on April 6, 2018.”
“People get sentenced. People finish their sentence. They get out,” Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe told reporters outside court Friday. “He violated his probation, which was transferred from the Barnstable Superior Court up to Middlesex County and Middlesex Superior Court issued the warrant that was the subject of yesterday’s apprehension and it resulted, obviously, in a very unfortunate tragedy.”
O’Keefe was then asked if Latanowich’s punishment for past crimes was adequate.
“Those kinds of questions are appropriately asked and examined whenever there’s a tragedy like this and we’ll certainly review those things. Is it frustrating? Of course it is,” he told WBZ-TV’s Christina Hager.
When asked if one of Latanowich’s drug convictions was vacated because of the Annie Dookhan scandal at the state drug testing lab, O’Keefe said that did not contribute to Latanowich getting of out jail any earlier because he had been sentenced on so many other different charges.
Gannon had been with the Yarmouth Police department for 8 years.
His cruiser is now parked outside the station with black bunting hanging from the side. Flags are also flying at half-staff in his honor.
“Sean, remarkable young man. We refer to him as the Tom Brady of the Yarmouth Police Department. He’s gone. He died doing what he loved. He’s going to be sorely missed,” Police Chief Frank Frederickson told reporters Friday.
Several people stopped by the Yarmouth Police station Friday to pay their respects to the fallen officer.
Gannon was a graduate of Westfield State University. The school’s president Ramon Torrecilha said Friday the campus was “deeply saddened” by his death.
“Our sincere condolences to his wife, extended family, Yarmouth Police Department, and the many Westfield State University alumni and citizens of Massachusetts whom Sean positively impacted during his time here at Westfield State and his career in law enforcement. Our faculty and staff are privileged to have had a role in preparing Officer Gannon for his service-focused career that tragically came to an end yesterday.”
Gannon graduated from Bishop Stang High School in 2003.
“Our hearts and our prayers go out to Sean’s wife, Dara, father Patrick ’74, mother Denise (Morency) ’70, Timothy ’05, and Martha (Gannon) Souza ’08,” Principal Peter Shaughnessy said in a statement. “Sean’s service and sacrifice will always be remembered at Bishop Stang High School. May he rest in peace.”