BOSTON (AP) — Two Boston police officers need more surgery as they recover from shooting injuries they received while responding to a domestic disturbance that started as an argument over a thermostat, police said Friday.
In statements posted on Twitter, police said Commissioner William Evans visited both officers at Massachusetts General Hospital Friday morning. Evans reported that one of the officers was undergoing surgery and the other is awaiting surgery.
Both officers were listed in critical but stable condition Friday, but they are recovering, police said.
Evans praised the hospital staff for continuing to help the officers. “I can’t thank them enough,” Evans said.
The officers were wounded Wednesday night as they responded to a call about a man who was allegedly threatening his roommate with a knife. Police say the man opened fire, wounding the two officers. The man was shot and killed by police.
Both officers also had surgery shortly after the shooting.
The officers were called to an apartment in the East Boston neighborhood, where Kirk Figueroa, 33, was allegedly threatening his roommate with a knife, Evans said.
“His roommate met the officers out and clearly said that he was being attacked over an issue going on inside that apartment,” Evans said.
According to police, the roommates may have been fighting over the thermostat, but there likely were other issues.
When the two officers entered the home they were shot by Figueroa, who was armed with a tactical shotgun and wearing body armor, police said. Figueroa was then shot and killed by other officers.
“I don’t know what was going through his mind,” Evans said. “All I can tell you is he was a dangerous individual and our officers went in there unsuspecting of what took place.”
The injured officers were identified as Richard Cintolo, a 27-year veteran and father of three, and Matt Morris, a 12-year veteran, who in 2006 won the Hanna Medal of Honor, the state’s highest award for police bravery. Morris and his partner were honored for persuading a masked gunman firing on a crowded bus stop to surrender peacefully.
Police officers, city officials and community members gathered Thursday night for a prayer vigil. The police captain who heads the East Boston district station choked back tears as he spoke of the heroism of the two wounded officers and their colleagues.
An artery in Morris’ leg was severed in the shooting, and his life was mostly likely saved by another officer who tied a tourniquet on it, Evans said. That officer had undergone training on how to properly tie a tourniquet just the week before.
Evans said he spoke to Morris, who was aware that a fellow officer had saved his life.
Police towed Figueroa’s car from outside his home Thursday morning. The vehicle was decorated with the name of a website called elitepolicing.org. On the site, a man who identifies himself as Kirk Figueroa says his company, Code Blue Protection Corp., provides police support, fugitive apprehension and extradition services, and armored car training.
Figueroa, who was not licensed to have a gun in Massachusetts, described himself as a Boston constable, a former member of a U.S. Army Reserve military police unit and a former corrections officer. Constables are authorized to serve subpoenas and other legal documents in civil cases.
Figueroa enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in February 2003, but received a hardship discharge five months later, Army spokesman Wayne Hall said. He never attended basic training or advanced individual training.
As is standard protocol following such events, the district attorney’s office said there would be an investigation into the use of deadly force.