REVERE - Officer Dan Talbot was killed after a small group of men in their late teens and early 20s confronted him and several other off-duty officers early Saturday morning in the parking lot of Revere High School, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said yesterday. Conley said the officers had been socializing when the young men approached.
The groups began firing at each other, and Talbot, a 30-year-old member of the Revere police gang unit, was shot in the head. An autopsy yesterday revealed that the bullet did not come from a 40-caliber Glock semiautomatic handgun, the service weapon of the Revere Police Department and the model carried by Talbot and the other officers.
State and city police have scoured Revere, searching houses on streets known for gang activity. Early yesterday morning, state and city police in full riot gear stormed a brick townhouse on Cooledge Street and hauled away two young men in handcuffs, neighbors said.
Police Chief Terence Reardon, appearing at a Revere City Council meeting last night, vowed to solve the crime.
"We will get to the bottom of this," Reardon, who wore a black band over his badge, told councilors. "We owe it to Danny."
Mayor Thomas Ambrosino said that the three police officers who were with Talbot during the shooting had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. He did not identify the officers and said that placing officers involved in a fatal shooting on leave was standard. "It's not atypical," he said of the move. "It does not reflect any wrongdoing."
A law enforcement source with direct knowledge of the case said that Talbot's fiancée was present during the shooting. Ambrosino called the shooting a murder and said that Talbot was shot in the forehead.
Conley, who spoke during a press conference at City Hall, said investigators were reviewing videotaped footage from a camera mounted on top of the high school. He did not describe what led to the altercation or whether the officers knew the assailants.
He asked for the public to help officials in identifying the men who fired on police. But he declined to say what they looked like and did not elaborate on the kind of efforts law enforcement officials have made to find them.
"We are continuing to interview individuals that may have information that will shed light on the truth of Saturday morning's tragedy," Conley said in an interview.
He would not comment on whether the officers requested back-up after they were approached by the teenagers. He also declined to say what kind of gun was used to kill Talbot, who had served in the department for five years.
"The investigation remains very active," he said. He declined to comment about the early morning search.
According to police records, police executed a search warrant for the house at 5:28 yesterday morning and later charged one man with possession of drugs and another man with possession of an electric weapon.
"It was scary," said Danny O'Leary, who lives next door to the house and heard police banging at the door. Neighbors said police used a battering ram to gain entrance to the house and knocked over furniture once inside.
At the high school, someone had added a glass cross to a small memorial near bleachers close to the parking lot.
"It's crazy," said Sothary Ren, a 2007 graduate who walked by the bleachers yesterday afternoon on her way to pick up her brother, a freshman at Revere High School. "You'd think this could never happen at school."
Ren, who used to work at the Dunkin' Donuts shop on North Shore Road, said Talbot came to the shop often. She often sneaked him free doughnuts, and he would give her $2 tips. She recalled asking him about his job.
"I always asked him, 'Is it bad today? Is it hard today?' " Ren, 19, said. "He'd say, 'Sometimes.' "