The tight-knit town of Winthrop is reeling after two individuals were shot and killed in broad daylight on Saturday. Community leaders, religious leaders and local town officials expressed dismay and disbelief over the deaths, which are being investigated as hate crimes.
“The community is in shock over this horrific event,” said Terence Delehanty, the police chief and interim Town Manager.
A gunman — identified as Nathan Allen, 28 — was driving a stolen truck when he crashed into a building, then got out and killed two individuals. The victims were David Green, 68, a former Massachusetts state trooper and Ramona Cooper, 60, an Air Force veteran. Allen was subsequently shot and killed by a police officer.
Both victims are Black, and the Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said the shooter passed by several non-Black individuals before shooting Green and Cooper. She added that investigators found racist and anti-Semitic writings at Allen’s home.
Delehanty said they are working to address the trauma arising from the event, particularly for the youngest members of the Winthrop community.
“We have children that were in the middle of it. And then we have children that came out of their houses to see the carnage that was left behind,” he said. On Monday, the Town of Winthrop released a plan to help the community cope with the violence, including a town forum and counselors at the school.
“It’s just scary. Very frightening,” said Sandra Pellegrino, the president of The Temple-Tifereth Israel, who has lived in the town for over 40 years.
She was at her synagogue when the shooting happened. Soon after arriving home, Pellegrino said she got a call from the police. She said they told her the gunman may have been trying to target her synagogue.
Winthrop police did not immediately respond to a request to confirm the call.
“Being Jewish, oftentimes we live with fear. We know what goes on, what people think. But at the same time, we go on with our lives and we do what we have to do,” she said.
While Pellegrino was not surprised by the anti-Semitism and the racism, she admitted she’s had trouble sleeping. She said she lies awake thinking of the two victims.
Jason Tallent has also been thinking about the victims. He’s the pastor of Harbor City Church in Winthrop, and he knew David Green. He said it’s such a small town that “everyone knows everyone.”
He’d last seen Green a few months ago when they were helping move a friend out of his apartment — carrying a couch together.
“There was not one person that David wouldn't help. He was always, every time I was around him, he had a smile on his face,” he remembered.
“We're still just processing,” added Tallent, who lives just a few blocks from where the shooting happened. “There is a lot of shock, I think, because stuff like this doesn't happen in Winthrop.”
Delehanty also expressed shock that this happened in the small seaside community. But, he said, “One person should not rewrite the history of the community. Winthrop has always been a very tolerant community. We continue to be a tolerant community. And, do we have work to do? Absolutely. And, will we do that work? Absolutely.”