YARMOUTH, Mass. (WHDH) – A Somerville man accused of shooting and killing a beloved Yarmouth police officer Thursday has been ordered held without bail.
Thomas Latanowich, 29, pleaded not guilty Friday in the First District Court of Barnstable. He is facing a murder charge in connection with the shooting death of 32-year-old K-9 Officer Sean Gannon. Dozens of police officers filled the benches of the courtroom as Latanowich was arraigned.
“Sean was a remarkable young man. We refer to him as the Tom Brady of the Yarmouth Police Department,” Yarmouth Chief Frank Frederickson said following the arraignment.
Prosecutors said Gannon was shot in the head while he and other officers attempted to serve a probation warrant at a house on Blueberry Lane. Latanowich was allegedly hiding in a closet in the attic when he shot Gannon.
Gannon was rushed by ambulance to Cape Cod Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. His K-9 partner, Nero, was also shot and was taken to a veterinary clinic in Dennis to be treated.
“He died doing what he loved to do, and that is working with his dog, helping his brother officers and protecting all of you,” said Frederickson.
Officers were back at the home on Blueberry Lane on Friday to investigate, even cutting a hole in the roof to look for evidence.
Latanowich, who has been labeled a “career criminal,” has more than 100 arrests for violent crimes that date back more than a decade. The Massachusetts Probation Service said Latanowich’s conditions of probation included random drug screens and a mental health evaluation, among other things.
Officials said Latanowich was not home for a probation visit on April 4 and that he failed to appear for a drug test on April 5. A warrant was issued for his arrest on April 6.
Latanowich had been sentenced on July 26, 2010, to 4-5 years in prison for assault with a dangerous weapon. He has also been charged with heroin possession, witness intimidation and receiving stolen property, among other things. He was released on parole in Nov. 2013, returned to custody in June 2014 for violating parole and then released days later.
Latanowich’s five-year probation period was slated to end on Nov. 1, 2018.
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said Latanowich had a drug conviction overturned as a result of the Annie Dookhan scandal.
Latanowich is due back in court in June. O’Keefe said he plans to bring the case in front of a grand jury. A murder indictment is expected.
The Yarmouth Police Foundation is collecting donations to support Gannon’s family. A candlelight vigil has been planned for Saturday night to honor Gannon.
The shooting remains under investigation.
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