Braintree shows support for officer injured in shootout that killed police dog
Downtown Braintree was lined with American flags, blue ribbons and plenty of children and dogs as dozens of supporters turned out to welcome home Officer William Cushing from South Shore Medical Center Friday morning.
“We’ve known so many of the Braintree police officers since they were toddlers and all through school, and they’ve been a big part of our lives forever. We’re just so proud of them,” said longtime Braintree resident Joanne Troop, who watched the procession with her husband and young grandson. “We wanted to be here, especially for Cush. He’s very near and dear to our hearts.”
Many spectators also came out to support Kitt, Cushing’s police dog who was killed in last week’s shootout that injured his handler.
“We’re big animal lovers too, so we know, you know what he must be feeling,” said Kelsey Brennan, who attended with her black boxer, Bella. “We want to make him feel supported, and are glad that so many people are out here to do the same.”
A motorcade of police cars from surrounding towns trailed Cushing as he waved and smiled out the window. He was shot multiple times in the left arm a week ago by a gunman during a pursuit through the woods. The suspect, Andrew Homen, died in the incident.
Another officer, Matthew Donoghue, was released from Boston Medical Center last week with shoulder injuries. A third officer on the scene, Richard Siebert, was uninjured.
Braintree Police Chief Mark Dubois said funeral service plans for Kitt, an 11-year veteran on the Braintree force, have not been finalized. It will likely be held during the week of June 21, as Cushing’s recovery and procedures allow.
Although he said Cushing has “a long road ahead of him,” he is also in good spirits and was laughing and joking ahead of a procedure he had early Friday morning.
Deputy Police Chief Tim Cohoon could not go into too much detail about the incident, citing the ongoing District Attorney’s investigation, but said that Siebert, a former combat medic with the Army, was able to help the wounded officers in the form of trauma first aid and making tourniquets for his colleagues.
“We can’t always pick who would be involved in these incidents, obviously,” he said. “If we were to pick three offices to endure something like this, it would have been those three.”
Dubois said that the department has received cards and letters of support from police officers and others across the country. “Ultimately, we feel very lucky that our guys are coming home,” he added.