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State law stipulates that widow of slain Springfield police officer Kevin Ambrose to receive his full salary for life

kevin ambrose mug shot.jpgSpringfield Police Dept.Kevin Ambrose

SPRINGFIELD — Under state law, the widow of slain Police Officer Kevin Ambrose will receive his annual salary, tax-free, for the rest of her life, according to local and state retirement officials.

In addition, there is a one-time payment of $100,000 to the family of an officer killed in the line of duty, provided through the Massachusetts Retirement Board, under state law.

Ambrose, 54, was shot and killed in the line of duty on Monday afternoon, after he responded to an emergency call for a domestic dispute at an apartment building on Lawton Street in Sixteen Acres.

The gunman, Shawn Bryan, 35, of Hempstead, N.Y., shot Ambrose through a door, and then opened the door and shot him again in the third floor hallway at 90 Lawton St., according to police. Bryan then shot Charlette Mitchell, 29, inside the apartment, and went to his car, and killed himself with a single gunshot to the chest, police said.

Mitchell, initially in critical condition, was upgraded to stable condition Tuesday at UMass Medical Center in Worcester.

Ambrose is survived by his wife, Carla, two children and a granddaughter.

Under state law, Chapter 32, Section 100, a pension is paid to a surviving spouse of any police officer, firefighter, or correctional officer killed in the performance of his duties.

Anne C. Leduc, executive director of the Springfield Retirement System, said the amount received by the wife is the regular compensation of the officer annually for the rest of her life and is a non-taxable death benefit, under the law. Ambrose’s annual base salary was $57,304, according to city payroll records.

The annual pension payment made to the spouse “shall be equal to the amount of salary which would have been paid.. had he continued in service in the position held by him at the time of his death;” the law states.

Ambrose had not filed for retirement prior to his death, according to city records. He is listed as having nearly 35 years of creditable service in the retirement system, Leduc said. His date of hire is listed as July 15, 1977, according to city personnel records.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno has ordered that the flags at City Hall and all municipal buildings be lowered to half-staff for the foreseeable future, which includes all school buildings and libraries.

Thomas T. Walsh, communications director for Sarno, said he has received calls from some business entities, including Balise, and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, offering their condolences and confirming the protocol for flying flags at half-staff.

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