‘Mass. Criminal Justice System Let Us Down': Yarmouth Police Department in Wake of Officer Killed in Line of Duty

Yarmouth K9 Officer Sean Gannon was shot and killed in Barnstable Thursday while trying to serve an arrest warrant

The Yarmouth Police Department had strong words Saturday for the Massachusetts criminal justice system and the alleged suspect who shot and killed one of their own in the line of duty Thursday.

"Less than 48 hours ago, a coward took the life of one of our Police Officers. The attack stunned us and brought to our knees…" Deputy Chief Steven Xiarhos said in a statement posted to the department's Facebook page.

Officer Gannon was killed Thursday when he and two other officers were trying to serve 29-year-old Thomas Latanowich with an arrest warrant. Gannon was shot in the attic during a sweep of the suspect's Barnstable home. Officer Gannon's K9 Nero was also shot in the incident and had to undergo emergency surgery. It's hoped he will make a full recovery.

"The name of person who attacked our beloved Police Officer Sean Gannon, and our innocent Police dog K9 Nero, will never be uttered in our building or in any of our Media Releases or Facebook posts," Xiarhos said of Latanowich. "We only refer to him as 125...which stands for the number of prior criminal charges he has on his Board of Probation criminal record in Massachusetts."

Latanowich does have an extensive criminal record, and according to the Massachusetts Probation Service, a warrant was issued for his arrest after he wasn't home for a probation visit and failed to appear for a drug test.

"The Massachusetts Criminal Justice System has let us down and failed to protect our community and our Yarmouth Police Department," Xiarhos said of the suspect's lengthy criminal history.

Latanowich was arraigned Friday on a murder charge and one count of mistreating a police dog. He is being held without bail.

"Our organization is pushing forward as we have broken families to support—a community who loves us," Xiarhos said, "and coward known as 125 behind bars who has earned the death penalty."

The Yarmouth Police Department has planned a Saturday night memorial candlelight vigil for Officer Gannon, and Xiarhos is encouraging everyone to attend.

"The men and women of the Yarmouth Police Department remain steadfast to our commitment to excellence in policing and we invite all people—from all walks of life—and all over our nation—to stand strong together with us at our Candlelight Vigil."

The vigil will take place at 7 p.m at the Town of Yarmouth 911 Memorial, which is located on the grounds of the Yarmouth Police Department headquarters, which Xiarhos said is the "home of Yarmouth Police Officer Sean M. Gannon and K9 Nero."

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