Boston officer is shot on a call

Was responding to domestic incident | 2 others are hit; all expected to live

It was the third time since November that an officer in Massachusetts had been shot. It was the third time since November that an officer in Massachusetts had been shot. (Aram Boghosian for The Globe)
By Maria Cramer
Globe Staff / June 15, 2011

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A Boston police officer who teaches women how to defend themselves was shot by a suspect in a domestic violence call yesterday morning during a fierce exchange of gunfire, marking the third time since November that a Massachusetts officer has been shot and wounded in the line of duty.

Officer Shawn Marando was about to finish his overnight shift, authorities said, when a woman called from a Dorchester apartment and said her boyfriend had assaulted and threatened to kill her.

Minutes later, Marando, a 13-year veteran, and two other officers arrived at Wentworth Terrace, where they found the boyfriend, 25-year-old Tyrone Cummings, with the woman’s sister.

As the officers approached, Cummings fired, striking Marando in the calf, police said.

Marando and a second officer fired back, hitting Cummings several times in the chest. The sister was struck in the leg.

All were expected to survive.

“As this incident demonstrates, there is no such thing as a routine call,’’ Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said. “It’s clearly our worst-case scenario.’’

The shooting unnerved neigh bors, many of whom were just waking up and getting ready for work. Officers descended on the neighborhood, roping off the crime scene with yellow tape.

They escorted children to nearby Fifield Elementary School, where a bullet had struck inside.

Janice Johnson said she walked her granddaughter to school “because I thought it would be more traumatizing to her for the police to walk her there.’’

Marando, who is 46 and married, was sent to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he underwent surgery, Davis said. A martial arts specialist who teaches self-defense to women and children around Dorchester, Marando served in both the Air Force and Marine Reserves.

Last November, a Somerville detective was shot in the chest and abdomen trying to arrest an alleged gun dealer. The detective survived.

A month later, a Woburn police officer was fatally shot the day after Christmas as he tried to stop an armed robber.

In April, a state trooper and a Springfield police officer were shot by a prison escapee, but their bullet-proof vests absorbed the shots.

Before this year, the last time a Boston police officer was shot was 2007, when Patrolman Stephen Romano, a gang unit officer, was struck in the chest as a state trooper and alleged gang member exchanged fire.

The last Boston police officer to die in the line of duty was Berisford Wayne Anderson, who was shot to death in 1994.

Nationwide, the number of officers killed by gunfire has risen this year, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which tracks fatalities.

By yesterday, 38 officers had been fatally shot so far this year, compared with 26 in the same time period last year, according to the organization.

The overall number of officers killed in the line of duty has also risen, with 87 officers killed this year, compared with 73 at the same time last year.

The organization’s chairman, Craig W. Floyd, said there are many possible reasons for the increase, including that the economy has forced many departments to cut back on tactical training that could help officers avoid fatal encounters.

Antigovernment and antiauthority sentiment is also stronger than it has been in decades, and police are often at the front lines of that kind of anger, Floyd said.

“It’s a tough time for law enforcement,’’ he said. “A lot of people are blaming the government, blaming police in some cases for their troubled lives, and sometimes they don’t think twice about shooting a police officer.’’

The leading causes of death for officers killed in the line of duty are domestic violence calls and traffic stops, Davis said.

“Of all the calls a police officer can respond to, few are more volatile than those involving domestic violence,’’ Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said. “We saw that in stark relief this morning.’’

The call came in at 6:42 from the Wentworth Terrace apartment.

When police arrived, they saw Cummings coming down the front steps of the three-decker, struggling with his girlfriend’s sister, according to two law enforcement officials briefed on the investigation.

The girlfriend, who was not identified, remained inside the apartment, police said.

Cummings fired first, Davis said. Police said they need to examine ballistics evidence to determine who struck the woman, whose name was not released.

Cummings, who was taken to Boston Medical Center and is in stable condition, had two firearms and a bag of ammunition with him, police said.

Conley’s office is investigating Cummings’s alleged actions and the shooting by officers to determine whether it was justified.

“At this very early stage of the investigation, it appears the officers acted in self-defense and in defense of others,’’ Conley said.

Cummings could be arraigned as early as today on several charges, including assault with intent to murder. He has a minor police record with no violent offenses, according to court records.

In 2005, he was arrested on charges of receiving a stolen motor vehicle and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. The motor vehicle charge was continued without a finding, according to the records. He pleaded not guilty to drug possession, but was found guilty by a judge and sentenced to probation.

Marando has been injured in the line of duty before.

In 2004, he broke his ankle struggling with a man who police said was incorrectly administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation to a shooting victim. Marando, who is also trained as an emergency medical technician, received the department’s Medal of Honor and the George Hanna Award, which is named after a state trooper killed in the line of duty.

Yesterday, dozens of officers filed into the hospital to visit Marando.

“I’m just glad he’s OK,’’ a fellow officer said as he left the hospital. “I’m so impressed with him.’’

Following surgery, Marando was smiling, laughing, and joking, officers who visited him said.

“He’s happy to be OK,’’ said another officer.

Clarification: An earlier version of this story omitted that a state trooper and a Springfield police officer were shot at by a prison escapee in April. The two officers were not wounded in the attack.

Brian Ballou of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Maria Cramer can be reached at