Trooper faces string of charges

Allegedly drove drunk, pointed gun at officer

By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / September 26, 2010

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A Massachusetts State Police trooper and Army war hero was arrested after a chaotic scene unfolded early yesterday morning when he allegedly drove drunk and crashed his car on his Dorchester street, pointed a gun at an off-duty Boston police officer, and then ran into his house and fired his gun into a ceiling. He came outside and was wrestled to the ground by responding officers.

Timothy J. Walsh, 41, is an 18-year State Police veteran who has been on military leave for the past five years, said David Procopio, a spokesman for the State Police. Walsh has done multiple tours in Afghanistan and he received the Army Commendation Medal for valor in December 2009.

At about 1:30 a.m., police responded to a radio call to 32 South Munroe Terrace for a report of a person pointing a gun at a police officer, police said. When they arrived, the off-duty officer, who also lives on the street and whose name was not released, told the arriving officers that Walsh had fled into the house. Then officers heard the gunshot.

According to a Boston Police Department report obtained by the Globe, police surrounded the house, where Walsh lives on the first floor with a roommate. When Walsh exited, the officers ordered him to put his hands up and get on the ground. He refused, according to the report, and the officers wrestled him to the ground, placing him under arrest.

Police found a bullet hole in a living room ceiling.

Walsh’s roommate, who told police he was sleeping and woke when he heard the gunshot, was not injured.

A man who answered the door at 32 South Munroe declined to comment yesterday.

Walsh was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of an accident, assault with a dangerous weapon, illegal discharge of a firearm, and operating an unregistered motor vehicle.

He is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow in Dorchester District Court. A hearing will be held Tuesday to determine if Walsh will be suspended from the State Police as the criminal case is processed, Procopio said.

According to witnesses cited in the report, Walsh struck three parked cars on his street and then fled onto Neponset Avenue. He returned a short time later and parked his battered car in his driveway, the report said.

By this time, neighbors had come outside to inspect the damage and they recognized Walsh’s car. The off-duty Boston officer, who said Walsh was slurring his words, told him to wait outside for police to respond. It was then that Walsh allegedly pointed the gun at the officer and went inside.

Walsh was briefly treated at Boston Medical Center yesterday for injuries he sustained in the crashes and while being arrested, according to the report.

Procopio said Walsh turned in his service weapon when he went on military leave and that the gun he fired was a personal weapon. Walsh has a license to carry firearms, he said.

Walsh did tours in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, said Richard R. Brown, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, the troopers’ union, and he recently returned from one.

The Trooper Newspaper, the union’s official publication, listed Walsh as a staff sergeant in the Army. His photo is on the cover of the February issue, which reports on a December 2009 event at Florian Hall, where he received the Army Commendation Medal for valor.

According to the newspaper’s narrative of the ceremony, Walsh was serving in Balkh Province, Afghanistan, in May 2009, providing support for an 84-man commando task force when they came under heavy fire.

As the commandos appeared to be in grave danger from “overwhelming fire,’’ they headed north to take cover, but they were pinned down by heavy machine gunfire.

Walsh stood up, in the line of fire, and provided covering fire with his rifle and grenade launcher while the commandos moved out of danger.

Walsh then noticed one of his teammates dragging a severely wounded commando with a gunshot wound. He stood up again, putting himself in the line of fire, and provided covering fire so that the commando could be moved out of danger.

Behind cover, but still taking fire, the soldiers were pinned down and decided they needed to retreat. Walsh stood up a third time and yelled to his men to fire their weapons and escape “the kill zone,’’ according to the narrative.

“His actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army,’’ the narative read.

Brown said in a phone interview that Walsh has union representation and support.

“He’s a war hero,’’ Brown said. “I wish him the best with everything he’s dealing with, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the Boston Police Department for the whole situation.’’

Walsh was last assigned to Troop D, which covers Southeastern Massachusetts, Procopio said.

John M. Guilfoil can be reached at Maria Cramer contributed to his report.

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