October 21, 2021. The Massachusetts Police Association (MPA) recognized Somerville Police Officers and awarded them the Medal of Valor for their acts of heroism during a hostage situation that occurred on August 6, 2020.
On Thursday, August 6, 2020, Somerville Police received a call for a report of a male with a gun inside of a residence on Highland Ave. Upon arrival, 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 seven cruisers, as well as Sgt. Marino, were on location.
Officer’s entered the residence and observed the suspect holding the female victim down on the floor by her neck, with a gun pointed to her head. The bedroom they were in had two separate doors that allowed Officer Hartsgrove, Officer Ruf, Officer O’Brien, and Sergeant Marino access to the room.
Officer Ruf warned Officers Cleary, Haley, N. 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 force situation, Sgt. Marino, along 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 suspect 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 officers to enter and evacuate the victim out of the room. The suspect was secured, and transported to the Hospital for a mental health evaluation.
Great job by all the officers involved. A tragedy was averted by their calm collective action.
Photo L to R: (Chief Charles Femino, Officer Robert Hartsgrove, Officer David Ruf, Officer Eric O’Brien, Sergeant John Marino, Deputy Chief Christopher Ward and Lieutenant Michael Kennelly (Retired & MPA Rep)