The man suspected in the killing of a Massachusetts police officer was fatally shot during a gunfight with police after an hourslong standoff, WHDH-TV reports.
Jorge Zambrano, 35, of Worcester, was wanted in the death of Auburn Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr., 42, who was shot during a traffic stop early Sunday morning.
Tarentino was shot at about 12:30 a.m. and taken to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where he was later pronounced dead.
A Massachusetts State Police trooper, an 18-year member of the force and a Navy SEAL veteran, was wounded in the shootout that killed Zambrano. He suffered a minor injury.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Suspect Shot the Officer During a Traffic Stop & Then Fled, Police Say
Police said during a press conference that Officer Ronald Tarentino was shot during a traffic stop. The suspected shooter then fled from the scene, according to police.
“The residents of Auburn have lost a brave and dedicated public servant,” Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis said at a press conference. “We will leave no stone unturned in our investigation to determine who was responsible for Officer Tarentino’s murder. Every investigative avenue is being pursued fully and completely.”
The shooting happened on Rochdale Street in Auburn, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports.
“I heard rapid fire gunshots and then I heard somebody yell, ‘Get down’,” Phil Berthiaume, who lives in the neighborhood, told MassLive.com.
Tammy and Edward Lemieux told the Boston Herald they rushed to help Tarentino after he was shot.
“We were headed to bed and we heard gunshots and went to the window and heard him, ‘I’m shot, I’m shot, I’m down, help me!’ I grabbed towels and flew down as fast as we could to help him,” Tammy Lemieux told the Herald. She said she wants his family, fellow officers and loved ones to know he wasn’t alone. “Somebody was with him, comforting him, and we are so sorry for their loss. I just wish I could have done more. I told him he was going to be OK.”
2. Police Say Zambrano Was ‘Lying in Ambush Waiting’ for Officers Surrounding the Oxford Home
Police searching for Zambrano surrounded a house in Oxford, Massachusetts, where he was hiding.
“He was lying in ambush waiting for them,” District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. told reporters Sunday night at a news conference.
Zambrano was found hiding in a closet and was shot by a state trooper Sunday night at about 6 p.m. Authorities said he jumped out at them, opening fire. The trooper was wounded during the shootout with Zambrano, but is expected to survive, police said at a press conference.
Police had been searching for Zambrano and the white Infiniti SUV believed to have been involved in the shooting, according to a “be on the lookout” notice sent out to area police officers.
The SUV was described as a 1997 white Infiniti QX4 with Massachusetts license plates 4PJX80. The plate is not registered to the vehicle.
Zambrano was to be considered “armed and dangerous,” according to the alert.
“Officers are asked to use extreme caution and to Stop and Hold Zambrano,” the BOLO said.
3. Zambrano Has a Lengthy Criminal Record, Including Convictions for Cocaine Trafficking & Assault of a Police Officer
Jorge Zambrano has a lengthy criminal record, including multiple convictions in 2011 that sent him to prison, according to court records posted by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Zambrano, then 31, pleaded guilty to several charges, including trafficking in cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, distribution of cocaine, two counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, two counts of resisting arrest, and selling, using or possessing a firearm silencer.
He was sentenced to serve 7 years in prison. It is not clear when he was released.
“He served his time.” State Police Colonel Richard McKeon said at a news conference. “I think justice was served today.”
He was a U.S. citizen, not an undocumented immigrant, his former attorney told the Boston Herald. It was not immediately known where he was born.
“He comes across as a very likable guy. You never really know someone — you’re really only dealing with them on a narrow basis,” attorney Anthony Scola told the Herald.
4. He Was Arrested Days Before the Shooting for Driving With a Suspended License, Police Say
Zambrano was in court just four days before the shooting on charges related to a traffic stop, according to courthouse records posted by the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
He was charged with driving with a suspended license (subsequent offense), driving an unregistered vehicle and a license plate violation to conceal ID, according to records.
His case was continued to June 9 and he was released from custody.
Zambrano was also arrested in April and charged with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and driving with suspended license. The case was “continued without a finding for 1 year,” and he was “ordered to pay $100 victim witness fee.”
5. Tarentino, Who Is Survived by His Wife & 3 Kids, Transferred to the Auburn Police Department 2 Years Ago
Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. transferred to the Auburn Police Department two years ago from the Leicester Police Department.
He is survived by his wife and three children, police said. He is a graduate of Tewksbury Memorial High School and entered the police academy eight years ago, according to a post on his Facebook page.
Tarentino is the first police officer in Massachusetts to be fatally shot in the line of duty since MIT Officer Sean Collier was killed by the Tsarnaev brothers in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He is the second Massachusetts officer to die in the line of duty in 2016. State Trooper Thomas Clardy was killed in a car crash in March 2016 in Charlton. The driver of the car that hit Clardy’s vehicle, David Njuguna, has been charged with manslaughter in that case.
There have been 19 police officers killed by gunfire nationwide this year, including Tarentino.