The Weymouth, Massachusetts community has come together to help the family of a slain sergeant and a 77-year-old woman after they were killed in a shooting on Sunday. Now, a New York-based 9/11 organization is helping the sergeant’s family with a generous donation.
The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation visited Weymouth Wednesday to present $100,000 to the family of Sgt. Michael Chesna. The donation is meant to help Chesna’s family pay off their mortgage. The charity was created in memory of firefighter Stephen Siller, who died responding to the 9/11 attacks.
Representatives of the organization visited the Weymouth Police Department a day before Chesna’s wake is scheduled. A funeral mass for the fallen officer will be held on Friday.
Chesna's widow, Cindy, attended Wednesday afternoon's ceremony, wearing her husband's Army hat and dog tags. "I'm not OK," she mouthed at one point, as family and friends comforted her.
Chesna's brother-in-law, Joe Comperchio, spoke at the ceremony.
"I appreciate everyone saying that everything is going to be OK," he said, "but it isn't going to be OK for us."
Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes also spoke, saying, "Born out of tragedies are heroes."
Afterward, Cindy laid a wreath at the Weymouth Police Department for her husband.
Chesna wanted to become a police officer since he was about 5-years-old.
Among the flowers and balloons at the police station stood 4-year-old Pearse O’Neill.
"Pearse has always been a fan of police officers and he really respects them,” said Jenny O'Neill who lives a few houses from the department. “He understands that officer Chesna dedicated his life to his country and his community."
According to Chesna’s obituary, the Army veteran was a massive sports fan with a particular devotion to Bill Belichick.
"Thinking of the things the guy went through and it's just sad that it happened,” said Steve Maxfield of Leominster.
Some neighbors like Susan O’Brien and Barbara Aleo made the mile and a half drive from the department to 100 Torrey Street where 77-year-old Vera Adams lived.
"She has to be remembered too,” said Aleo.
Adams' cane is still on the porch where she was killed.
"I feel sad because she had no family and so I think Weymouth has become her family,” said O’Brien.
Chesna was responding to a call of a crashed vehicle when 20-year-old Emanuel Lopes allegedly threw a large rock at his head. Shortly after, the suspect retrieved the officer’s gun and allegedly shot him approximately 10 times.
Lopes, who is also accused of opening fire and killing Adams, was arrested that same day. He was ordered held without bail after he pleaded not guilty to two first-degree murder charges at his arraignment on Tuesday.
Those who would like to donate to the organization's efforts to help the Chesna family can click here.