Man, 22, found shot dead in Reading home

Police and Middlesex district attorney officials investigated the scene of a shooting on Lawrence Road in Reading yesterday. Police and Middlesex district attorney officials investigated the scene of a shooting on Lawrence Road in Reading yesterday. (Bill Ryerson)
By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Staff / August 16, 2011

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READING - A 22-year-old man was found dead from gunshot wounds in his parents’ house on Lawrence Road yesterday, shattering the calm of the quiet side street near a complex of schools.

A State Police operator received a 911 call around 1:10 p.m. yesterday of a report of shots fired in the area of 3 Lawrence Road. When police arrived, they found Joseph Ronan, 22, shot multiple times in the home. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police and officials from Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone’s office swarmed the area yesterday as they investigated the shooting. Police set up a tent in front of the olive-green clapboard house with purple shutters and doors to shelter investigators from the rain.

Police would not discuss the circumstances surrounding Ronan’s death, which was called suspicious by Leone’s office. There was no word on how he was shot or any possible suspect or motive.

Larry Goulet, a 62-year-old neighbor, said he heard two gunshots just before 1 p.m.

“I spent 26 years in the Navy, so I’m pretty familiar with small-arms fire,’’ Goulet said. “The next thing I knew, there was an ambulance and a police car pulling up.’’

Goulet said Ronan planned on becoming a Marine. He last saw Ronan about two weeks ago.

“He was supposed to be going to Parris Island in the end of August or early September,’’ he said.

Goulet and others were shaken by the news that Ronan had been shot to death.

“He was our paperboy, about 10 to 12 years ago,’’ Goulet said. “He was a very well-liked young man in the neighborhood. Something like this is just hard to get your head wrapped around.’’

Neighbors said Reading rarely experiences gun violence.

“No, we don’t, and we like it that way,’’ said Holly Nahabedian, 53, who lives nearby on Lawrence Road.

Nahabedian and her husband, Ed, have lived on the road for 18 years and said the Ronans were good neighbors.

“They are a very nice family. Just great neighbors,’’ she said. “Never a problem; never trouble. They are very nice.’’

Police at the scene declined to comment on the case. Town officials did not return calls seeking comment. An autopsy will be conducted by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

John Guilfoil can be reached at