A Massachusetts police department and the surrounding community are mourning the loss of an officer who was fatally shot in the line of duty Thursday afternoon.
Thirty-two-year-old Yarmouth K9 Officer Sean Gannon was serving a warrant at a home on Blueberry Lane in Marston Mills when he was shot. Gannon was taken to Cape Cod Hospital, where he later died.
Gannon's dog, Nero, was also shot. Dennis Veterinary Hospital posted on Facebook that Nero was shot in the face and neck but has been stabilized and faces surgery Friday, although he is "not out of the woods."
The alleged shooter, Thomas Latanowich, 29, was taken into custody after a standoff with police. He was ordered held without bail following his arraignment Friday at the First District Court of Barnstable on a murder charge.
Yarmouth Police Chief Fred Fredrickson said Gannon was an 8-year veteran of the force and had a promising career ahead of him. He was married and a graduate of Bishop Stang High School in Dartmouth and Westfield State University.
"Sean, remarkable young man. We refer to him as the Tom Brady of the Yarmouth Police Department,'' Frederickson said outside of court. "He's gone. He died doing what he loved. He's going to be sorely missed."
The police chief said he is devastated over the loss of his officer.
"I treat all of my officers like they are my own sons and daughters, and to lose one is like losing my own," Fredrickson said.
Area residents who learned of Gannon's death said they were completely shocked. Some stopped by the police department to drop off flowers.
"I just figured I had to do something. I don't know Sean. I don't know his family," resident Cheryl Davis said. "These police officers need all the support that they can get from everyone."
"Sean was one of those kind of guys you'd see on the street, he'd smile and say hello to you," said James Saben, who knows Gannon's family. "He's been involved in a lot of Cape Cod young professionals organizations. It really hits not just the town of Yarmouth, but the Cape as a whole, because the two of them have touched so many people."
Residents were also disturbed to learn that the suspect has a lengthy criminal history that includes more than 100 prior arrests.
"I'm just saddened that someone who has 111 charges against him can go free. The system has failed so many people," said a resident who did not want to be named. "It's just a dangerous, dangerous situation. You never know when you aren’t going to come home."
Several Massachusetts police departments have expressed their sorrow over the loss of Gannon both online and in written statements.
Gov. Charlie Baker said he conveyed his condolences in a phone conversation with Frederickson on Friday.
"The sadness and heartbreak that carried in his voice says it all," Baker said. "This is an incredible tragedy and a huge loss, and we all expect justice to be served for this heinous crime and trust that our judicial system will hold his murderer accountable to the highest degree."
Baker held a moment of silence for Gannon before a news conference on Friday in which he signed a bill approved by the Legislature that calls for major reforms in the state's criminal justice system. Baker also ordered all U.S. and state flags on state buildings lowered to half-staff in honor of the fallen officer.
The Yarmouth Police Foundation is accepting donations for Gannon's family. For more information, go to www.yarmouthpolicefoundation.org.