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Gunman Kills 2 After Crashing Stolen Truck in Winthrop, Is Fatally Shot by Police

NBC Boston logo NBC Boston 6/27/2021 Staff Reports
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A gunman killed two people after crashing a stolen truck into a building in Winthrop, Massachusetts, Saturday, then was fatally shot by police, state troopers said.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene, including a building flattened by the truck and the gunman without shoes before firing a series of shots. None of the three people who died have yet publicly named, though police said at a news conference they have been identified -- police were reaching out to family members.

The suspected gunman had stolen a plumbing and drain company's truck, then crashed it into a building at the corner of Shirley and Cross Streets, according to Massachusetts State Police.

He got out of the truck and shot a woman and man, both of whom died, troopers said. They were investigating whether the man may have been trying to stop the gunman -- Winthrop police Chief Terence Delehanty said at a news conference one person "was engaged" with the suspected gunman in an alley before the gunman was shot.

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It was Winthrop police who shot the gunman, state police said. He had two weapons, according to Delehanty.

Two other people were hospitalized but are expected to survived -- they were in a crashed vehicle that was part of the incident, according to Delehanty.

It was too early in the investigation for police to say whether the two people who were shot were connected, or whether the suspected gunman was tied to the plumbing company that owned the stolen truck.

Officers were seen saluting one of the shooting victims being taken to the Boston medical examiner. 

There is no active danger to the public but people were asked to keep away from the area where it took place -- Neptune Avenue, Cross Street and Veterans Road between Beach and Washington -- because the scene remained active, according to the Winthrop Police Department. They initially reported the shooting as a "mass casualty incident."

Police were called to the incident about 2:41 p.m. over a truck that had crashed into a building near Shirley and Cross streets, Delehanty said in an initial statement.

A police officer was taken to a hospital to be evaluated but wasn't seriously hurt, according to police.

One witness heard a "big crash" while she was in bed. Emely Norena said she ran outside afterward and went to help a family in a vehicle, then heard another crash.

"Then all of a sudden, I hear a set of gun shots. then I ran back inside my house," Norena said.

She saw police arrive soon afterward, then more gunshots.

She said the house hit by the truck was "non-existent." No one was inside at the time, police said.

“I feel like my mind went blank. All I was trying to do was get my mom to safety because the gunshots really scared me. Winthrop is known to be a very safe town. Not many things like this happens around here, so it scared me a bit,” Norena said.

Robert Harrington said he saw the gunman get out of the truck:

He climbed out of the truck, climbed over the fence. He had no shoes on, he looked like he was out of it. I don’t know if he was disoriented or whatever. And then he just started casually walking down the street. I was going to say something, but what am I going to do, you know what I mean? Then, he started jogging. Then, I heard the 'boom, boom, boom, boom.' Then, I ran down, I looked down and the next thing I saw is the body in the middle of the street. So, I ran down, got behind the car, 'cause the shots were still going. You could see the smoke from the gun. To tell you the truth, the girl, it makes me very sad. I just thought I’d block it out and try to go on with my life, but it’s definitely going to stay with me.

Multiple police agencies were investigating what took place.

A crashed truck was visible at the scene, surrounded by police tape. The top of the truck appeared to be shredded and it had front-end damage as well. An SUV was damaged nearby as well.

The truck belongs to a company called Rapid Flow, Inc., which it acknowledged Saturday afternoon in a Facebook post: "This afternoon one of our trucks was stolen, and unfortunately was just used moments ago to drive through a Winthrop residence. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available."

State Sen. Joe Boncore tweeting today that he is "devastated" by the incident.

"We are praying for the victims and their families — and every individual impacted by this act of violence," Boncore posted.

State police had earlier said the truck crash took place on Veterans Road.

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