Nathan Allen was named as the gunman who shot and killed a retired Massachusetts state trooper and an Air Force staff sergeant after crashing a stolen box truck into a building in Winthrop, Massachusetts, on June 26, 2021. He left behind white supremacist writings targeting Jews and Blacks, authorities said.
He told neighbors he worked as a physical therapist, according to The Boston Globe.
The incident unfolded in Winthrop in a chaotic scene on the street and ended with police shooting and killing the suspect. Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins released Allen’s name. “Two innocent people lost their lives,” she said, adding that the murders are being investigated as a hate crime. Both victims were Black. She believes Allen, 28, acted alone.
On social media, the gunman painted a picture of a mundane and apolitical life, writing about his rabbits and being featured with his future wife in a flattering Boston Globe article that described how they got married in a nursing home so her grandfather could attend in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. He had no criminal history and had earned a Ph.D., according to Rollins. Prosecutors say those attributes were a front that hid a darker side, fueled by racism.
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.”
Ramona Cooper, a veteran staff sergeant in the Air Force, was shot three times in the back. David L. Green, a retired Massachusetts state trooper, was “executed yesterday, shot four times in the head and three in the torso,” she said, adding that both were heroic.
Three people were shot in all, including the suspected gunman, Winthrop police said in a statement. Police shot the gunman. They said the truck was stolen.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Believe Allen, Who They Say Left Behind Racist & Anti-Semitic Rhetoric, Stole a Box Truck Owned by a Plumbing & Drain Company
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.”
In a news release, she wrote:
At this preliminary stage of the investigation, the excellent work of law enforcement has already unearthed troubling white supremacy rhetoric and statements written by the shooter. This individual wrote about the superiority of the white race. About whites being ‘apex predators.’ He drew swastikas.
There is a growing national, and global, problem with extremism and white supremacy. The FBI believes the most serious domestic violent extremist threat comes from ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race.’
This shooter was married and employed. He had a Ph.D. and no criminal history. To all external sources he likely appeared unassuming. And then, yesterday afternoon he stole a box truck, crashed it into another vehicle and a property, walked away from the wreckage interacting with multiple individuals and choosing only to shoot and kill the two Black people he encountered.
She 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.
John M. Guilfoil, who performs public relations for police, wrote on Twitter early on, “We are confirming a mass casualty incident in Winthrop per @Winthroppolice. Very active scene at this time.”
He added, “Crime scene is in the area of Shirley St and Veterans Road. Motorists are asked to avoid the area at this time and throughout the evening.”
2. Allen, Had a Lawful License to Carry a Firearm, Met His Future Wife at UMass & Took Her to McDonald’s on Their First Date, Showcasing a Mundane Life
According to their page on wedding site The Knot, Nathan Allen married Audrey Mazzola on September 4, 2020.
“Due to COVID-19 ruining everything, our in-person guest list is limited to the moms, the dads, the grandparents, and the in-state siblings,” the website reads. “When the craziness is all over, we’ll have a big party so we can celebrate with all our beloved friends and family.”
There is no sign on the suspect’s social media of racism or political beliefs. Instead, he wrote about rabbits and other mundane things.
The wedding ceremony was held at a nursing home in West Boylston, Massachusetts.
“It all started in the most romantic setting imaginable: The Birch Grille at UMass Dartmouth. Seven years, three apartments, and two rabbits later, (Allen’s wife) and Nathan decided to tie the knot amidst the backdrop of a global emergency,” The Boston Globe wrote.
Their first date was at McDonald’s, their rabbit arrived in a cucumber crate in 2014, they traveled to Croatia, Italy and Austria, and their first home was a condo in Winthrop overlooking a marsh, where they moved in 2019, according to The Globe. He proposed in 2020.
The Boston Globe article on the wedding is titled, “A bride, her grandfather, and a love story.”
“It’s a tale about a sweet-and-touching engagement and an upcoming marriage set against the backdrop of a killer pandemic,” the article read.
The Globe reported that they married at the nursing home so her 92-year-old grandfather could attend.
The article said Allen and his future wife would be “exchanging vows in the nursing home’s outdoor green space that will, however briefly, become their wedding chapel.”
“She loves him very much,’’ Allen told the Globe reporter. “It’s really important to her that he’s present at the ceremony. That was one of the things that pushed us to have it sooner rather than later. Who knows what’s going to happen in the future with the quarantine?
Audrey Allen told the Globe: “Nathan had fibbed and told me he was doing something for school and he was actually meeting my parents for lunch asking for their blessing. I was exhausted and the apartment was totally clean. I didn’t think anything of it. ‘Oh that’s nice.’ There were candles. He never lights candles. I should have known.‘’
Rollins said that Nathan Allen was legally authorized to carry a firearm in Massachusetts, saying, “We do know he did have a lawful license to carry that transferred from another town, meaning he had nothing in his background check.”
The first officer at the scene thought he was responding to a car accident, Rollins said. She said Allen was traveling twice the speed limit. “Houses of worship for Jewish people are right around these corners,” she said.
But Rollins said authorities aren’t sure where Allen was going.
A photo from the scene shows the large truck embedded in a brick building. The motive and whether it was intentional or random are not yet clear. The incident happened in the afternoon hours of Saturday, June 26, 2021.
“These families deserve answers, and we will find out what happened here,” Rollins pledged.
“These two people fought for our rights … and they were executed yesterday,” Rollins said of the victims. Authorities said they have “no tolerance for hate.”
3. Allen Had Worked at a Middle School & Senior Care Home, Emphasizing His Duties Included Creating a ‘Safe’ Environment
On LinkedIn, Allen described himself as a “physical therapist intern.” He wrote that he worked at a transitional care and rehabilitation facility from 2016-2017, his most recent employment listed, and attended the MGH Institute of Health Professions, where he indicated on Facebook he graduated from in January 2021.
He worked as a caregiver for a senior care home in 2016, according to his LinkedIn profile. “Created a safe and comfortable environment for clients,” it reads. He also worked as a paraprofessional at Wareham Middle School in 2015, he wrote. Among other duties, he listed, “Assisted children with academic and behavioral issues. Helped maintain a safe learning environment. Supervised assigned group of students during field trip. Established and maintained effective working relationships with children and staff.”
In 2014, he was employed as a laboratory technician in Rhode Island, he wrote. He worked at Brown University in 2014 for four months as a chemical stockroom associate and was an undergraduate researcher at a lab, according to his LinkedIn profile, which also indicates he was a “truck team member” from 2012 to 2013 and a sales associate at TJ Maxx from 2009 to 2012.
According to LinkedIn, he also worked on pre-physical therapy studies at Cape Cod Community College, in addition to studying biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
“Graduated cum laude in Biology. Received John and Abigail Adams Scholarship and Theodore H. Barth Scholarship in 2010. Member of the UMD Honors Program 2010-2014. Received the University of Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Award on 2013,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
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 dispatch audio, 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 marked 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.”
4. 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.”
Online records say the building involved is a commercial property that has housed a small real estate firm.
5. Allen Was ‘a Little Off,’ a Neighbor Says
According to The Boston Globe, a woman who lives in the same apartment building as Allen, told The Boston Globe that Allen “seemed so nice, but there was something a little off about him.”
She said he told her he was a physical therapist and offered to help her son with a sensory processing disorder, The Globe reported.
“He had so many packages come, he always had packages coming,” she told The Globe.
Police evacuated Allen’s apartment building for about 30 minutes to investigate two packages that were in the lobby for him, The Globe reported.