David L. Green and Ramona Cooper, the two victims who were shot to death by a gunman who left behind white supremacist writings in Winthrop, Massachusetts, were heroes, the district attorney said in a news conference, praising their lives of service.
Nathan Allen was named as the shooter who shot and killed Green, a retired Massachusetts state trooper and Cooper, a Air Force staff sergeant, after crashing a stolen box truck into a building in Winthrop. He left behind white supremacist writings targeting Jews and Blacks, authorities said. Both Green and Cooper were Black, and the shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, DA Rachel Rollins said in the news conference on June 27, 2021.
Police shot and killed the suspect. “Two innocent people lost their lives,” Rollins said, adding that the murders are being investigated as a hate crime. She believes Allen acted alone. The DA praised both Green and Cooper for devoting their lives to keeping the community safe. Green’s full name was given by authorities as David L. Green.
The sergeant who shot and killed Allen was also praised a hero for “ending that threat.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Cooper Was Currently Serving in the Military, Authorities Said
On LinkedIn, Cooper wrote that she had served “multiple roles” for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in the Greater Boston area for the past four years.
Before that she was a gas turbine maintenance analyst and an engineering aide in Connecticut. She had also worked as a telecommunications specialist and had a business administration and management degree.
Cooper was a veteran and a staff sergeant in the Air Force, Rollins said, adding that Allen shot her three times in the back. Cooper was 60 years old. Rollins said that Cooper was still actively involved in the U.S. military.
According to CBS Boston, Allen shot Cooper while she was simply walking past. He had crashed a stolen box truck into a building and tried to carjack another motorist first, the television station reported.
2. Green, Who Served in Law Enforcement for 36 Years, Was Praised for Upholding the ‘Ideals of Integrity’
According to journalist Steve Cooper, Green “spent 36 years in law enforcement before retiring in 2016.”
Green, a retired Massachusetts state trooper, was “executed yesterday, shot four times in the head and three in the torso,” Rollins said, adding that both Cooper and Green were heroic.
Police commander Col. Christopher Mason said in a statement, according to NBC Connecticut, “Trooper David Green more than upheld the ideals of integrity, professionalism, and service to others that are the hallmarks of a great Trooper. We are heartbroken by his loss and offer our condolences to his family and friends.”
Green’s friend Nick Tsiotis told NBC, “I think [he] kept people alive by heroically dying. He gave his own life, made the ultimate sacrifice for others.” He said he believes green was trying to warn others about the shooter. “I lost my best friend, a great great guy,” he said. “Everybody loved him.”
“Trooper Green was widely respected and well-liked by his fellow Troopers, several of whom yesterday described him as a ‘true gentleman’ and always courteous to the public and meticulous in his duties,” Mason said. “From what we learned yesterday, he was held in equally-high regard by his neighbors and friends in Winthrop.”
3. Police Believe Nathan Allen Left Behind Racist & Anti-Semitic Rhetoric; the DA Indicated that Both Victims May Have Been Targeted Due to the Color of Their Skin
Rollins revealed that the suspect wrote antisemitic and racist statements.
“There is some troubling white supremacist rhetoric that was found in Nathan Allen’s own handwriting, antisemitic and racist sentiments against Black individuals,” Rollins said in a news conference. “This is a sad day, these two people protected our rights and fought for us to be safe. They were executed yesterday and we will find out why.”
Asked whether the victims were targeted for the color of their skin, Rollins said, “He walked by several other people that were not Black and they are alive, they were not harmed. They are alive and these two people of color are not.”
Rollins said he was not on her radar before.
The mass shooting started with a stolen vehicle, police say.
“A preliminary investigation indicates that the male suspect allegedly stole a box truck owned by a plumbing and drain company and then crashed into a residential building on Veterans Road. Following the crash the suspect emerged from the truck and fled on foot. At some point shortly thereafter, the suspect, who was armed with a firearm, is believed to have shot the two adult victims,” police wrote.
Video at the chaotic scene showed a second vehicle crash as well. The truck was stamped with the logo of Rapid Flow, Inc. sewer and drain cleaning.
4. The DA Praised Both Green & Cooper for Protecting ‘Our Rights’
The DA praised both Green and Cooper.
“This is a sad day. These two people protected our rights. They fought for us to be safe,” Rollins said.
The dispatch audio from the time the incident started captures the frantic response at the scene.
“We have multiple weapons. We just found another firearm,” police said around 24 minutes into this dispatch audio, courtesy of Broadcastify. Police said the original call came in as a “motor vehicle accident.” At 18 minutes into the following auto, the dispatcher says, “Motor vehicle accident with injuries,” at “Shirley and Cross” and reports someone “trapped in the vehicle.”
At 19 minutes in, a frantic officer tells dispatch, “Shots fired. Shots fired! All units, shots fired at Cross and Shirley Street. Shots fired!” The officer says, “You’ve got a body on the ground…it looked like he had a gun. He fired at them.” He says it unfolded in front of a building at Shirley and Veterans. The officer then shouts unintelligibly. “…engaged in gunfire,” he said, adding that the truck was “in a house, with a building collapse” and another vehicle might have fled.
“We have another body down. We have another shot victim down!” an officer then says. Later an officer says, at about 23 minutes into the dispatch audio, “We have multiple victims down… I need you to secure this weapon.” Police also described finding various shell cases and bullets that they were marking at the scene.
Police Chief Terence Delehanty said in a statement that the Winthrop Police Department “is investigating a serious incident that took place Saturday afternoon in which three people were shot.”
He wrote, “Winthrop Police received reports that a large truck had crashed into a building at 2:41 p.m. near the intersection of Shirley and Cross street. Police also received reports of shots fired. Upon arrival, police found two people found shot. A suspect was identified and located by Winthrop Police. Chief Delehanty confirms that police did fire at the suspect during the encounter. The suspect has sustained serious, life-threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital. At this time, there are no updates on the conditions of the two victims. One police officer was taken to an area hospital for an evaluation but was not seriously injured.”
Police added, “The incident remains under active investigation by Winthrop Police with the assistance of Revere and Boston Police as well as the Massachusetts State Police. At this time, Chief Delehanty believes there is no further danger to the community, however motorists and members of the public area asked to avoid the area at this time to allow emergency crews and investigators to do their work.”
5. A Witness Described the Shooter as Shoeless & Disoriented
Witness Robert Harrington told NECN that the gunman “started jogging, then I heard the ‘boom, boom, boom, boom.”
He said the gunman wasn’t wearing shoes and seemed disoriented.
In a statement, Winthrop police wrote, “Winthrop Police are investigating a very active crime scene in town near the intersection of Shirley Street and Veterans Road. There are multiple injured people and motorists are asked to avoid the area to allow first responders unrestricted access to the scene. We will post additional information as soon as it is available.”