Robert Bonang is the Massachusetts man accused of shooting and killing his former neighbor while disguised as a UPS delivery driver. The victim, identified as local school nurse Laurie Melchionda, was declared dead at the hospital.
A witness saw Bonang approach Melchionda’s Braintree home and ring the doorbell. Prosecutors with the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office said Bonang shot Melchionda using a rifle that he had hidden inside a cardboard box.
Bonang stayed on the scene and was arrested minutes later.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Babysitter Says Bonang Walked Past Her & Two Young Children On the Sidewalk Before She Saw Him Shoot Melchionda
The shooting happened on the morning of June 17 in Braintree, Massachusetts, which is located about 15 miles south of Boston. According to the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office, a “civilian witness” reported seeing a man approach 64 Howie Street holding a box. The witness told police the man was dressed as a “fake UPS” delivery person.
Assistant District Attorney Greg Connor described the scene in more detail in court, CBS Boston reported. Connor explained the witness was a “young girl” who was walking with two younger children she was babysitting when she encountered Bonang. She told investigators that she “let [Bonang] walk in front of her because she was concerned about him” after noticing that he appeared to be disguised as a delivery person and was carrying a “weird” box. WCVB-TV added that Bonang was also wearing a surgical mask as he approached Melchionda’s house and “frantically” rang the doorbell.
The babysitter said she continued walking with the two children but looked back at the house when she heard screaming. The witness told police she saw Bonang shoot Melchionda. Connor explained to the judge that the box Bonang was carrying had been outfitted with a hole that “allowed someone to place their hand inside the box to manipulate the trigger on this rifle,” Metro West Daily News reported. According to the newspaper, Connor explained in court that Bonang also had a handgun and a police scanner with him at the time, as well as extra ammunition in a rental car.
The DA’s office said Melchionda was rushed to South Shore Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. WHDH-TV, citing investigators, reported Melchionda was shot in the head and back multiple times.
Heavy inquired about obtaining a copy of the police report, but a spokesperson for the Braintree Police Department responded via email that the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office had decided against making it visible to the public.
2. Bonang Lived Across the Street From Melchionda Until 2015 & a Local Outlet Reported the Two Did Not Get Along
Bonang used to live on Howie Street in Braintree. Norfolk County property records show Bonang sold his former house in October 2015. He moved to an apartment about 20 miles southeast in Marshfield.
Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey commented during a news conference, recorded by WCVB-TV, that Bonang had issues with neighbors when he lived there. Morrisey said Braintree Police received “a number of calls” about “general neighborhood complaints” involving Bonang. He added there had been a potential “domestic” situation. However, Bonang does not appear to have ever been cited or charged with any complaints. A search of Bonang’s name in Norfolk County and Quincy District Court does not yield any results.
Bonang and Melchionda did not get along, according to CBS Boston. The TV station reported that the two had a “history of issues,” but the district attorney said he was not aware of any recent arguments. Dan Quirk, a friend of Melchionda, told the Boston Herald that Melchionda often said Bonang made her feel uncomfortable.
3. Report: Bonang Was Hospitalized In 2014 for ‘Paranoid’ Behavior & His Facebook Page Includes Lists of ‘Unwelcome People’
Bonang has a history of possible mental health issues. WHDH-TV, citing a Braintree Police document, reported that Bonang was hospitalized in 2014 for displaying “paranoid and delusional behavior.” The report also referenced a 2009 incident in which Bonang’s sister had alerted the police following a verbal argument. In addition, Braintree Police wrote that Bonang had often expressed suspicion about his neighbors.
Bonang’s Facebook page also raises questions about his state of mind. Public posts dating back to 2010 are repetitive. He frequently shared a picture with the caption “Taken in the fall of 2010” that appeared to have been snapped from his window. The image appears to show the neighborhood.
Bonang often posted his former address in Braintree, his new address in Marshfield and information about a PO Box in Duxbury. He referenced “events in the fall of 2010” multiple times as well as lists of “unwelcome people.” He never wrote last names but said the people on his lists were from New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and various towns around Massachusetts. Bonang wrote that he would “compensate” anyone with “information, documents, or material” related to his list of “unwelcome people.”
4. Bonang Pleaded Not Guilty & Was Held Without Bail
Bonang stayed at the scene and cooperated with police after the shooting, the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. He was arraigned June 18 in Quincy District Court on the following charges:
- Carrying a Firearm Without a License (Two Counts)
- Discharging a Firearm Within 500 Feet of a Dwelling
- Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Bonang entered a not guilty plea and told the court he planned to hire a private attorney, the DA’s office said. Judge Mark Coven ruled that Bonang would be held without bail for the time being but left open the possibility that bail could be set at a later date. Bonang is due back in court on July 17.
Morrissey explained during a news conference that prosecutors believe Bonang specifically targeted Melchionda and that there is no continued threat to the rest of the community.
5. The Victim Was Remembered as a ‘Tremendous’ Person & ‘High Quality Nurse’
Melchionda was a well-known and beloved member of the community, friends and neighbors told local media outlets. Melchionda was married with three grown children and worked as a nurse at Weston Public Schools beginning in 2018. Superintendent Dr. Midge Connolly released this statement:
Weston Public Schools is extending our heartfelt sympathies to Laurie Melchionda’s family. Laurie was our Director of Health Services and the Field School nurse. We are all devastated by this loss of such a tremendous person. She was an incredibly dedicated healthcare professional and an outstanding person who gave her all to the communities she served, both here in Weston and in her beloved home town of Braintree. Laurie was leading our work here in Weston during this time of COVID, working throughout the entire town making sure the safety of all residents remained paramount. She embodied all of the positive traits of a high quality nurse including empathy, dedication, confidence and a compassionate, compelling bedside manner. Laurie’s zest for life and love of her family were evident in all that she did and will always be cherished. This loss has been devastating to all faculty and staff. Our focus remains on the well-being of our students over the next days and going forward while also continuing to extend our condolences to the entire Melchionda family. Our deepest sympathies to all of Laurie’s loved ones at this time.
Melchionda studied nursing at the University of Massachusetts, according to her LinkedIn profile. She began working as a staff nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital in 1983 and later served as the Director of School Nursing Services at Braintree Public Schools for more than 20 years. Melchionda also served on Braintree’s Board of Health, NBC Boston reported.