Springfield police officer Kevin Ambrose, shot to death by Shawn Bryan, lauded as hero who died in service to city
SPRINGFIELD — A long-time city police officer was killed in the line of duty Monday afternoon when a call for a domestic dispute turned deadly violent as a 35-year-old New York man opened fire on the officer, shot his estranged girlfriend, and then turned the gun on himself.
Officer Kevin Ambrose, a member of the department for 36 years, died of multiple gunshots after he was shot just before 1 p.m. in the third-floor hallway of an apartment at 90 Lawton St.
The 29-year-old resident of the apartment, Charlene Mitchell, was fighting for her life Monday night at Baystate Medical Center for a single gunshot injury. The suspected shooter, Shawn Bryan of Hempstead, N.Y., died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest, police said.
Bryan had been employed as a correctional officer with the New York City
Department of Corrections on Rikers Island. He and Mitchell had been estranged for about 11 months. He was also the father of her 1-year-old daughter, according to court records.
In a somber press briefing Monday night outside Springfield Police Headquarters, Ambrose was lauded as a someone who served the city faithfully for 36 years as a police officer and 38 years overall.
“It is with great regret and remorse that I announce a Springfield police officer was killed this afternoon,” said Police Commissioner William Fitchet.
District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni recalled his experiences with officer Ambrose was an honor and a privilege.
“He served as a hero; his career choice made him a hero. His actions today made him a hero,” he said.
He asked people to keep in their thoughts Ambrose family and friends as they deal with their loss and grief.
He also asked people to hold in their thoughts and prayers Mitchell as she fights for her life.
The briefing was held in front of the memorial to fallen officers.
Ambrose is the first officer to die in the line of duty since officers Michael Schiavina and Alain Beauregard were gunned down during a routine traffic stop on Nov. 12 1985.
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno spoke briefly to extend his condolences to Ambrose’s family.
Visibly shaken and subdued, Sarno in a voice that was at times barely audible, lauded the fallen officer as a man “who wore his badge with honor and integrity, and served our city with a tremendous amount of pride and passion.”
He said all of Springfield shares the feelings of loss of “this remarkable officer,” and mourns alongside his family.
His death shows the dangers that police officers face every day, Sarno said.
“Domestic violence, as you can see, is unfortunately a very dangerous call (for responding officers),” he said.
Sarno earlier in the day ordered the flag at City Hall and all city buildings lowered to half staff.
The shooting remains under investigation, but Fitchet provided the press with what he called “statements of facts” in the case.
According to Fitchet, Mitchell called 911 at 12:47 p.m. to report that she had seen her estranged boyfriend, Bryan, near her apartment in violation of a restraining order and she was in fear for her life.
The restraining order had been issued roughly 30 minutes earlier by Springfield District Court.
Fitchet said Ambrose, who was patrolling that sector of Sixteen Acres in a one-man car, was the first officer to arrive on the scene. Other cars were also responding to the scene but had not yet arrived.
When Ambrose arrived on scene, Mitchell and Bryan were outside together.
After a brief discussion, Ambrose escorted Mitchell and Bryan inside to Mitchell’s apartment on the third floor. The court order allowed for Bryan to remove some of his belongings from the apartment, Fitchet said.
Once at the door to the apartment, Bryan suddenly turned violent, Fitchet said.
He shoved Mitchell inside the apartment and barricaded himself inside, Fitchet said. Ambrose tried pushing the door open from out in the hallway.
It was at that point, Fitchet said that Bryan “shot officer Ambrose through the door, striking him once,”
He then opened the door again and shot Ambrose again.
Bryan then went back inside, shot Mitchell once, and then left the building. He went to his car, got inside and shot himself in the chest.
Other police responding to the scene found Ambrose in the hallway suffering from what Fitchet said were “multiple gun shot wounds” and attempted CPR.
They also found Mitchell inside the apartment. Both were rushed by ambulance to Baystate Medical Center. Ambrose was pronounced dead at the hospital while Mitchell Monday night remained in critical condition following emergency surgery, Fitchet said.
Officers conducted a search of the immediate area and found Bryan inside his car. They attempted first aid at the scene and rushed him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead, Fitchet said.
Fitchet said police recovered the handgun believed to have been used in the shootings inside the car with Bryan.
The case remains open and under investigation, Fitchet said.
Ambrose was hired by the Springfield police in 1976. Before he was appointed to the department, he spent two years as a police cadet, bringing his total service to the city to 38 years, Fitchet said.
During his time on the job, he worked as a patrol officer during all three shifts. He also worked in records, the traffic bureau and served in the detective bureau. Several times, he had received commendations for meritorious service.
He is survived by wife Carla, two children and a granddaughter.
Fitchet said funeral arrangements were incomplete as of Monday night.
No one said all or even most cops are bad. I think most people here respect the police for the jobs they are willing to do. I think we also hold them to high standards since they are entrusted by society with a lot of power. We also get concerned when the pension fund is severely underfunded or is drawing a huge portion of town's budgets.
That being said, RIP and hopefully the family will be OK.
[QUOTE=Trades;4484736]No one said all or even most cops are bad. I think most people here respect the police for the jobs they are willing to do. I think we also hold them to high standards since they are entrusted by society with a lot of power. We also get concerned when the pension fund is severely underfunded or is drawing a huge portion of town's budgets.
That being said, RIP and hopefully the family will be OK.[/QUOTE]
You gotta be pretty happy the fund is going to save some money. :rolleyes:
[QUOTE=32green;4484474]Terrible story. Very sad to see the perp. was a NY guy.
RIP Officer Ambrose.
[QUOTE=AlwaysGreenAlwaysWhite;4484549]Wonder if JW knew the perp...
Tragic story. RIP Officer Ambrose :([/QUOTE]
First off, RIP to PO Ambrose and condolences to his family.
My heart sank when I saw that the killer was a CO. Just reinforces the whole "perps with badges" persona so many of my partners and I tried to shed for decades. Sadly, quite a few of the newer "officers" getting on that job are less than upstanding. AFAIK, I did not know this guy.