Massachusetts lawmaker pushes to reinstate death penalty after cop killing

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A Massachusetts lawmaker is reportedly pushing the state to bring back the death penalty in response to the recent killing of a police officer gunned down while serving a warrant.

State Rep Shaunna L. O’Connell, a Republican, said the state has a reputation of being soft on crime and that puts the public in danger.

“We need to send a message to criminals that ‘you kill law enforcement officers, you are going to get the death penalty,” she said, according to Fox25Boston.

Yarmouth K-9 Officer Sean Gannon was shot and killed last Thursday while he and other officers were serving an arrest warrant at a home in Barnstable on Cape Cod.

Gannon, who was married, was an 8-year veteran of the department. Gannon's dog, Nero, also was shot but underwent surgery and is recovering.

Thomas Latanowich, 29, was charged in the killing. Latanowich hung his head throughout his brief arraignment in Barnstable District Court last week, speaking only to answer “yes” when the judge asked if he understood the proceedings.

Latanowich has been arrested numerous times, according to police and court records, though many of the charges were later dismissed.

Thomas Latanowich, 29, was charged with killing a police officer, police said.

Thomas Latanowich, 29, was charged with killing a police officer, police said. (Massachusetts State Police)

Authorities said the last prison time Latanowich served was a four- to five-year sentence on gun charges. The prosecutor expressed frustration that prior charges had not resulted in more lengthy sentences.

Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, said in a statement that he supports the death penalty when a police officer is killed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report