OPINION | Barry Richard: Alleged Cop Killer Has Lengthy Record
Pardon me while I gather my sanity.
How is it that a man accused of killing a Yarmouth Police officer had 111 prior charges against him and was not being incarcerated? Really? Is that criminal justice?
At the time of this writing, 29-year-old, Tom Latanowich of Somerville is still awaiting arraignment on charges after he allegedly shot 32-year-old Officer Sean Gannon, a New Bedford native, in the head on Thursday afternoon as Gannon and other officers attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Latanowich on firearms charges. Latanowich barricaded himself in the attic of the Yarmouth home resulting in a standoff that lasted for several hours.
By all accounts, Officer Gannon was a pretty solid guy. He was well educated and well-liked by those who knew him. His parents are respected members of the local community. His death is tragic and shocking.
Details of Latanowich's criminal record are not entirely clear as I write this, but the idea that a 29-year-old man could possibly have accumulated 111 charges against him in such a short period of time is alarming. Why was he not in jail? How did he acquire the weapon used to kill Officer Gannon?
The judiciary in our region has a reputation for its lenient treatment of criminal defendants. Elected officials and prosecutors have long complained that judges who release those defendants back into society as quickly as they are rounded up make it difficult to get a handle on crime.
An evaluation of his police record will determine whether Latanowich should have been in jail after 111 prior charges. It's quite possible our judiciary has Officer Gannon's blood on its hands.