Cape Cod Lawmakers Call for Legislative Review Following Gannon Death

HYANNIS – Cape Cod’s legislative delegation is calling for a review of the criminal justice system that they say allowed a career criminal to allegedly kill a Yarmouth police officer.

The six state representatives and two state senators sent a letter Monday the Joint Committee of the Judiciary and Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security.

They are calling for an oversight hearing to further scrutinize issue and identify lapses in the system.

“Prudence demands that we take a slow, methodical, and analytical approach to finding out how this happened, getting those questions that we as legislators but more importantly our entire community demands, and then formulating a strategy moving forward to find out how we can fix this,” said State Rep. Tim Whelan (R-Brewster)

Thomas Latanowich, a criminal with 125 prior charges, is accused of fatally shooting Yarmouth Police Sgt. Sean Gannon on April 12, while Gannon was serving a warrant in Marstons Mills.

“We are shocked that Latanowich has been criminally charged over 125 times, including numerous serious and violent crimes. His past criminal acts include violent abuse of a domestic partner, many charges of assault and battery, attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon, possession of various illegal drugs with the intent to distribute, numerous charges for possession of illegal guns and dangerous weapons, witness intimidation, among others,” the letter states.

“How was it that he was preying upon our communities? How was it that he was in Marstons Mills on April 12 with a firearm in his hand? How did he end up there?” asked Whelan.

The lawmakers said it is clear that Latanowich is a “career criminal with a predilection towards violence, both to complete strangers and those close to him.”

The letter notes that the suspect has faced little prison time for his extensive crimes, only serving time from 2010 – 2014 for various gun and drug charges.

According to the lawmakers’ letter, Latanowich has been prosecuted for violent crimes several times, but was able to avoid imprisonment through a combination of not-guilty findings by judges, failure of key witnesses to testify, and outright dismissal of charges.

“His extensive criminal record, and seeming ability to dodge proper punishment for his crimes, has made this awful event even more difficult for Sgt. Gannon’s loved ones, the Yarmouth Police Department, and our closeknit Cape Cod community,” said the letter.

It also cites several other murders of police officers in the line of duty in recent years.

Woburn Officer John Maguire was killed by Dominic Cinelli, a violent criminal out on parole in 2010. In 2016, Auburn Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. was killed by habitual offendor Jorge Zambrano.

The delegation is asking to be part of the hearing and requested that several members of law enforcement also attend, including: Secretary Daniel Bennett, Chief Justice of the Trial Court Paula M. Carey, District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, District Attorney Marian Ryan, Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson, Somerville Police Chief David Fallon, Massachusetts Parole Board Chairman Paul Treseler, Massachusetts Probation Commissioner Edward J. Dolan, among others the committee deems appropriate.

“We need to take a deep look into the criminal justice system because the system somewhere had a flaw,” said Rep. Whelan.

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