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Sergeants John MacLellan and Jeffrey Pugliese, Officers Joseph Reynolds, Timothy Menton, and Miguel Colon Jr. (Watertown Police Department, Massachusetts) and Firefighters James Caruso and Patrick Menton (Watertown Fire Department, Massachusetts)

Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor

They receive this award for their courageous efforts in protecting their community and saving the life of one of their own during a firefight on April 19, 2013 with two suspects from the Boston Marathon bombing. On April 18, Watertown Police were notified that a campus officer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology had been shot and killed in the neighboring city of Cambridge, and that the perpetrators were at large.

The following day, Sergeant MacLellan and Officer Reynolds spotted a vehicle that had been taken during a carjacking, unaware that they were about to encounter the men who were responsible for killing three people and injuring more than 260 people just days earlier during the Boston Marathon, then killing the M.I.T. officer.

The suspects began firing rounds at the officers, piercing the windshield and shattering glass in Sergeant MacLellan’s face. Sergeant MacLellan left the vehicle and allowed it to move forward, providing cover for the other officers as they tried to apprehend the suspects, one of whom threw an improvised explosive device and both of whom fired heavy weapons.

When officers Colon and Timothy Menton arrived on the scene, one suspect charged at them. Sergeant MacLellan and Officer Reynolds helped Sergeant Pugliese apprehend him. Meanwhile, the other suspect drove the stolen car towards them. They were able to jump clear of the speeding vehicle as this second suspect ran over the first and continued to flee, dragging the other’s body. Officer Menton went to the aid of a Transit Police officer who had been wounded in the exchange and was bleeding profusely. While one hand was applying pressure to control the bleeding, he used his other hand to radio for medical assistance.

Meanwhile, firefighters Caruso and Patrick Menton responded in an ambulance, knowing that the suspects had been deploying explosive devices and that some remained unexploded on the street. Through this minefield, they moved the unconscious officer, who was suffering from massive blood loss with no pulse or respiration. Firefighters Caruso and Menton tended to the officer’s injuries as Officer Timothy Menton drove the ambulance to the hospital.

The firefight continued for nearly eight minutes as other officers arrived. A total of five bombs were deployed and countless rounds were fired by the suspects. Each of these officers and firefighters was exposed to grave risks as they worked together to resolve the incident and save the life of the wounded officer. The second suspect was located and arrested twenty hours later.

Date Published: September 8, 2020