BRAINTREE (CBS) – A well-respected nurse was shot and killed in the entryway of her home in Braintree Wednesday and a former neighbor is now in custody, accused in her death.
Braintree Police received several 911 calls at 11:44 a.m. to report a shooting outside of a house on Howie Road. Callers also gave them a description of the gunman.
When officers arrived they found the homeowner, Laurie Melchionda, suffering from several gunshot wounds.
Standing nearby was 61-year-old Robert Bonang of Marshfield. Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said he fit the description of the gunman and was taken into custody.
Melchionda was rushed to South Shore Hospital where she died.
It’s still not clear what led to the shooting, but Morrissey said it was not a random event and that Melchionda was targeted. The D.A. would not say if a weapon was recovered.
Bonang is a former neighbor who lived across the street from Melchionda, but Morrissey said Bonang had not lived there for six years.
Sources told WBZ-TV’s I-Team Bonang was dressed as a package delivery person at the time of the shooting. Morrissey would only say he was wearing a “brown-type color uniform.”
Bonang will remain in custody overnight and is expected to be arraigned on murder and firearms charges on Thursday.
According to I-Team sources, Bonang and Melchionda had a history of issues. Morrissey said police had been to the neighborhood in the past, but he did not know of any recent dispute between them.
“She’s well known in town. She’s been active in town in the board of health. She’s a well-respected nurse. She was the head of the health services in the Weston Public Schools. She’s extremely well-thought of in town,” Morrissey told reporters at an afternoon news conference near the scene.
Melchionda was married and had three adult children. She was a Braintree school nurse for most of her career before working in Weston.
Her former students say she was more than a nurse, but a mother figure.
“She was somebody you could go to when you were having a hard time, a shoulder to lean on,” said former student Isabella Macchi. “She was just just great woman.”
“Literally the kindest lady I think anyone has ever met,” former student Abby Smith said. “She just had this warmth about her and like exactly that motherly feel.”
Weston Superintendent of Schools Dr. Midge Connolly said the community is “reeling from this shocking and devastating news.”
“In her two years at Weston, she made a tremendous impact in supporting the health and well-being of all of our students, working closely with her nursing staff, educators, families, service providers, and town leaders,” Connolly said.
Counselors will be made available in the upcoming days to assist Weston students and staff who may need it.