The suspect wanted in connection to the fatal shooting of a Massachusetts police officer during a traffic stop was shot and killed after an exchange of gunfire Sunday as authorities closed in on him just a few miles from the initial incident, officials said.
The man, identified as 35-year-old Jorge Zambrano, burst out of a closet and opened fire on the officers as they approached him inside the apartment, authorities said at a news conference. He was taken to a hospital where he died.
A Massachusetts State trooper, also wounded, was hospitalized but was up and walking later in the evening, officials said. His name wasn’t released.
The murdered officer, Ronald Tarentino, 42, joined the Auburn Police Department two years ago after transferring from the Leicester, Mass., department, Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis said at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Police surrounded the house Sunday afternoon close to four miles from where the shooting took place, and gunshots were heard as authorities deployed tear gas and a robot, The Boston Herald reported.
At the news conference after the manhunt concluded with the death of the suspect, Sluckis assured the central Massachusetts community that residents were safe and that any threat to them was over.
After Tarentino’s shooting, state police divers searched a pond near the traffic stop and the manhunt got underway full force.
“We will leave no stone unturned in our investigation to determine who was involved,” Sluckis said. He called Tarentino a “dedicated and brave public servant.”
Massachusetts State Police said the Auburn police officer was shot at about 12:30 a.m. Sunday. Auburn is about 45 miles southwest of Boston.
Tarentino was rushed to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, WGGB/WSHM-TV reported.
Auburn Police, the Massachusetts State Police, the FBI, and the Worcester Police are working together in the investigation, Sluckis said.
State and local police officers lined up outside the hospital on Sunday as a police vehicle, escorted by a police procession, took Tarentino’s body to the state medical examiner’s office in Boston, where the vehicle was met by a large group of officers.
Tarentino was the second police officer to die in the line of duty in Massachusetts this year. State police Trooper Thomas Clardy was killed March 16 when his cruiser was struck by another vehicle.
Outside the Auburn police station, the American flag was lowered to half-staff. The town’s residents left bouquets of flowers and miniature American flags piled at the bottom of a stone monument dedicated to law enforcement officers who’ve been killed in the line of duty.
Residents in Tarentino’s Leicester neighborhood remembered him Sunday as a pleasant family man. Tarentino is survived by a wife and three children.
Phillip Stanikmas told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette that Tarentino kept an eye out for his 91-year-old mother when she was home alone. Stanikmas said he was “distraught” when Tarentino left the Leicester Police Department because he was a “great guy.”
“I wanted him to stay in Leicester,” Stanikmas said.