On Thursday, August 6, 2020, Somerville Police received a call for a report of a male with a gun inside of an apartment on Highland Ave. Upon arrrival, the reporting party advised officers that the suspect was in the back room and was pointing a gun at a female’s head. Officers relayed this information to SPD Dispatchers, and advised Dispatch that all cruisers, as well as Sgt. Marino, were on location.
Officer’s entered the residence and observed the suspect holding the female victim down by her neck to the floor, with a gun pointed at her head. The bedroom they were in had two separate doors that allowed Officers Hartsgrove, Officer Ruf, Officer O’Brien, and Sergeant Marino access to the room. Officers Ruf warned other officers on scene, Officers Cleary, Haley, Moreira, and Morel that the suspect was armed, and to take cover, as they were in the hallway ready to provide support. The suspect, who was visibly upset, and suffering from a mental health issue, warned officers “not to come any closer,” and that it did not matter if he shot the female victim, or the police. Using the victim as a shield, the suspect began flailing the gun around, and at times would point it towards the officers’ direction. Despite being in a deadly situation, Sgt. Marino, along with Officers Hartsgrove, Ruf and O’Brien, risked their own safety, stood their ground, and recognized that any police action would jeopardize the victim’s safety, as the suspected continued to use her as a human shield.
The suspect repeatedly kicked objects towards the door in an attempt to close it, and trap the victim in the room with him. Sgt. Marino was able to defeat those attempts, which enabled Officer Ruf and Officer Hartsgrove to verbally deescalate the situation. The suspect eventually tossed the gun, which allowed officer’s to enter and evacuate the victim out of the room. The suspect was secured, and transported to the Hospital for a mental health evaluation.
As a result of the actions taken by Sgt. Marino, and Officers Hartsgrove, Ruf and O’Brien, Lt. Capasso nominated them for the Combat Cross Award. All four officers faced an armed adversary and risked their lives but kept calm and helped both victim and suspect get the attention they needed. In addition, Lt. Capasso nominated Officers Cleary, Haley, Moreira, and Morel for the Meritorious Service Award. They too displayed courage under adverse conditions in a hazardous situation. Great job by all involved. Tragedy was averted by their calm collective action that helped deescalate this dangerous situation.