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State Police Panel Expected to Suspend Veteran Trooper

State Police Panel Expected to Suspend Veteran Trooper

In the courtroom, six soldiers dressed in camouflage fatigues showed support for State Trooper Timothy J. Walsh. (Aram Boghosian)

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

September 28, 2010

BOSTON, MA – A panel of State Police officials is expected today to suspend without pay a trooper accused of pointing a handgun at an off-duty Boston police officer after allegedly driving drunk and crashing into several vehicles on his Dorchester street.

Timothy J. Walsh, an 18-year State Police veteran who has been on military leave since early 2004 and has served with the US Army in Afghanistan, was charged yesterday with assault with a deadly weapon, operating under the influence of alcohol, discharging a firearm, and other offenses.

The State Police panel, consisting of three commissioned officers, is scheduled to review the charges against Walsh, 41, today. David Procopio, spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety, said the panel will probably suspend him without pay until the court case has been adjudicated.

Colonel Marian J. McGovern, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, issued a statement yesterday, saying: “We are cognizant of his actions in combat as a member of the United States military and recognize his bravery in the service of his country. Nonetheless, the department has an obligation to review the serious criminal allegations against him and examine his fitness to serve as a Massachusetts state trooper.

“We condemn the actions as alleged by the criminal complaint and are thankful that no one was killed or injured as a result of the trooper’s alleged brandishing of a personally owned firearm.’’

According to a police report, Walsh hit two parked cars and a van and then drove to his home on South Munroe Terrace about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

Off-duty Boston police officer Michael Mylett, a neighbor, went to Walsh’s home to inquire about the motor vehicle crashes and ordered him to wait inside until police arrived.

Walsh then returned with his handgun and pointed it at Mylett, the report indicates.

Then, according to the report, Walsh retreated inside his house and fired a round that pierced the living room ceiling. Walsh’s roommate and his roommate’s girlfriend were inside the house when Walsh allegedly fired the shot, but they were not hit.

When police arrived, they ordered Walsh outside and demanded he put up his hands and lie on the ground. He refused, and the officers had to subdue him, according to the report.

Yesterday, during his arraignment in Dorchester District Court, Walsh stood behind a glass partition, his hands cuffed in front of his body. He wore a light-blue, long-sleeve dress shirt and appeared sullen, tilting his head down throughout the proceeding.

In the courtroom, six soldiers dressed in camouflage fatigues occupied an entire row. The soldiers and several state troopers attended the arraignment to offer support for Walsh, said Lisa Medeiros of Quincy, his lawyer.

Assistant District Attorney Gretchen Sherwood asked judge Robert Tochka to set bail at $2,000. Medeiros, who entered a plea of not guilty on her client’s behalf, asked Tochka to release Walsh, saying he has deep roots in the community and received several commendations while serving in Afghanistan. She described her client’s alleged crimes as “a complete aberration for him.’’

When Tochka asked Walsh’s supporters to stand, about two dozen people rose, including Walsh’s father and other relatives, the soldiers, and troopers.

Tochka released Walsh on personal recognizance, ordering him to undergo a mental health evaluation within a week through a Veteran’s Administration program for post-traumatic stress disorder.

When asked later by reporters whether her client may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, Medeiros replied, “We’re not looking into anything at this point specific to mental health.’’

Tochka also ordered Walsh to surrender all firearms and his firearm identification card and to stay away from establishments serving alcohol and remain alcohol-free.

Outside court, Medeiros said of Walsh: “He’s not comfortable being paraded out. This is humiliating for him.’’ Walsh is due back in court on Nov. 29 for a pretrial hearing.

Medeiros said Walsh graduated from Boston College High School in 1987 and a year later joined the US Marine Corps. He served in the Marines until 1993.

He then joined the State Police. While working as a trooper, he attended night school at Western New England College and graduated in 1999.

When he took a leave from the State Police to serve in the Army more than six years ago, Walsh turned in his State Police service weapon and department cruiser.

Yesterday, an unidentified man who had attended the arraignment answered Walsh’s door on South Munroe Terrace.

The man said of Walsh, “He’s our man, and we’re behind him.’’

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