WATERTOWN (CBS) – One of the officers involved in the Watertown shootout following the Boston Marathon bombings is retiring after 30 years on the force.
Sgt. John MacLellan grew up in Watertown, attending the high school before graduating from Bridgewater State.
He worked nights his entire career, but the night of April 18, 2019 will stay with him forever. That night, he pulled over a black Mercedes not knowing bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev would jump out and start shooting. In an interview with WBZ a year after the bombings, MacLellan remembers, “When I came around the corner, the older brother takes one shot at me. I knew it hit the windshield because I got sprayed with glass. And we know now it ended up in my headrest right behind me.”
After a firefight, MacLellan remembers running out of ammunition and watching, helplessly, as Tsarnaev ran towards him. MacLellan thought for sure he was strapped with explosives, but out of nowhere, another officer tackled Tsarnaev to the ground. MacLellan says, “I had to get on top of him. I was like, you know, this is it, I just hope it’s quick because I know he’s going to blow us up.”
Turns out he wasn’t wearing explosives, and Tsarnaev was eventually killed as his younger brother got away. Five bombs were thrown during the firefight, but some officers managed to get to officer Dic Donahue who was wounded. For their bravery, Sgt. MacLellan and seven other officers and firefighters were awarded the nation’s Medal of Valor.
Now, after 30 years on the force, Sgt. MacLellan is looking forward to spending time with his wife, Monique, and his daughter, Taylor. At a ceremony in his honor, he told friends and colleagues, “it was a pleasure to work in this town.”