During the early morning hours of Monday, March 28, 2011, Officer Thomas Walsh was on patrol in Tyngsborough, as he has been for over 20 years. At 12:47am, Officer Walsh received a call for service in the Frost Road area where a citizen reported suspects breaking into his motor vehicle while it was parked in his driveway.
Upon interviewing the victim, Officer Walsh learned that the suspects had fled the area in a dark colored vehicle. Officer Walsh then proceeded to search for the suspects. Just after 1:00 am, Officer Walsh found another vehicle broken into on Norris Road. As he was inspecting this vehicle, a vehicle fitting the description of the suspects’ drove down the road.
Officer Walsh attempted to stop the potential suspects’ vehicle, now on Frost Road. The vehicle’s operator refused to stop, however, and accelerated his speed away from Officer Walsh. At this point, Officer Walsh observed a number of items being thrown from the suspects’ vehicle, including a handgun. Officer Walsh continued to follow the suspects’ vehicle onto Pawtucket Boulevard at a safe distance as he radioed for assistance from the Lowell Police Department, since the suspects were heading toward the city.
Officer Walsh crossed the Tyngsborough town line into the city of Lowell, at which time he realized the suspects’ vehicle had just been involved in a one-vehicle accident, the operator having lost control while traveling at excessive speed. Sergeant Shaun Woods also responded to Lowell to back up Officer Walsh, requiring us to call in additional officers to patrol Tyngsborough since two of our on-duty Officers were out of the Community.
There were two male suspects injured in the accident. Both were taken to a local hospital, with one released to the Police and the other remaining inpatient.
Over the next two days, Police investigation revealed that over 10 other Tyngsborough citizens had been victimized as they slept, while their vehicles were being broken into and personal belongings stolen from their vehicles. Fortunately, Tyngsborough Police have recovered a number of these stolen items.
The two suspects in the vehicle are also suspects in a number of armed robberies in the City of Lowell.
This was just another call for the Tyngsborough Police Department. It was given a case number and reports where completed. It received a small news story in the local newspaper.
On the old television show Dragnet, they asked for just the facts. Well, these are the facts as they happened.
It is what didn’t happen that keeps me awake late at night.
Since January of this year, there have been 53 Police Officers killed in the line of duty across the country. Many of these Officers were responding to calls for service. Of the 53 Police Officers killed, 24 were killed from gunfire; 16 were killed in traffic incidents.
May 15 is National Peace Officer Memorial Day. Officers are injured and killed in big cities and small towns throughout this nation every day, and on this day we honor those Police Officers who have given their lives in the line of duty. Officer Walsh’s shift ended at 7:00 am I saw him that morning on a road job doing traffic. He made it home safely that day, and I am thankful for that.
I am very proud of the work done by all of our Officers, and I am also very aware that every day these Officers put their lives in harm’s way for us, protecting the Citizens of our Community and keeping us safe.
This May 15, please take a moment to thank the Officers who are still with us for doing their job, and please take a moment to remember the fallen heroes of the Tyngsborough Police Department:
- Chief Joseph Pelletier
- Detective Sergeant Gregory Kasabian
- K-9 Officer John ‘Jack’ Georges
- Officer Andy Ray
- Sergeant Howard Tiny Givens
It is not how these Officers died that made them heroes, it is how they lived.