Authorities in Winthrop, Massachusetts are investigating whether a white man who shot dead two blacks on Saturday after crashing a stolen truck into a house was acting out of racial and religious hatred.
The suspect, Nathan Allen, 28, had made “anti-Semitic and racist statements against blacks,” said Rachael Rollins, district attorney for Suffolk County. She said investigators found “disturbing white supremacist rhetoric” in Mr. Allen’s own handwriting. Ms Rollins did not specify where investigators found the writings.
Ms Rollins said her office was investigating the shooting as a hate crime and believed Mr Allen acted alone.
Mr Allen stole a large truck owned by a plumbing and drainage company and rammed it into a house in Winthrop, a neighborhood about seven miles east of downtown Boston, authorities said . Mr. Allen then fled on foot, the Winthrop Police Department said in a statement. The shooting occurred at the intersection of Shirley and Cross Streets at 2:41 p.m. Saturday, authorities said.
Mr Allen, who had a license to carry a gun, started shooting his gun as he fled, but walked past several people who were not black and did not shoot them on it, Ms Rollins said.
The victims were David Green, a retired Massachusetts State Police officer with 36 years of experience, and Ramona Cooper, a 60-year-old Air Force veteran who still worked with the military. Winthrop police officials said at a press conference on Sunday.
Ms Cooper was shot three times in the back, Ms Rollins said.
Mr Green, who lived in the neighborhood, attempted to arrest Mr Allen but was shot four times in the head and three times in the chest, Ms Rollins said.
An officer then shot and killed Mr. Allen, authorities said.
Ms Rollins said investigators were unsure why Mr Allen was heading to the neighborhood on Shirley and Cross Street, but she said there were several synagogues in Winthrop.
“We don’t know where he was going; it’s just speculation, ”Ms. Rollins said. “We know he wrote anti-Semitic rhetoric with his own hand.”
“The citizens of Winthrop came up for help because they believed this individual, Nathan Allen, had just had an accident,” Ms. Rollins said. “But they are alive and these two visible colored people are not.”
Mr Green was pronounced dead at the scene and Ms Cooper was taken to hospital, where she later died of her injuries, authorities said.
“He was heroic in his 36 years in law enforcement, just as Ramona Cooper serving our country and the Air Force was also a hero,” Ms. Rollins said. “It’s just a really tragic day at Winthrop.”
Colonel Christopher Mason of the Winthrop Police Department said in a statement that Mr Green became a police officer in 1980 and then a statesman 12 years later before retiring on December 31, 2016.
“Trooper Green was widely respected and appreciated by his comrades, many of whom yesterday described him as a ‘true gentleman’ and always courteous to the public and meticulous in his duties,” said Col. Mason. “From what we learned yesterday, he was held in the highest regard by his neighbors and friends in Winthrop.”