Funeral services set for Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose, killed in the line of duty; shooting investigation continues

Published: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 5:18 PM     Updated: Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 5:18 PM
Kevin Ambrose wake and funeral arrangements
kevin ambrose.jpgCourtesy Springfield Police Dept.Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose, who was killed in the line of duty responding to a domestic dispute call on Monday.

    The wake and funeral arrangements for Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose, killed in the line of duty, are being conducted by Sampson Family Chapels.


     The wake will be held on Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Chapel of the Acres, 21 Tinkham Road.


     The funeral will be held on Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Catherine of Sienna Church on Parker Street.
    Officer Ambrose will then be laid to rest at the Hillcrest Park Cemetery on Parker Street.

Memorial donations:

    Kevin E. Ambrose Memorial Fund
    c/o Greater Springfield Credit Union
    1030 Wilbraham Road
    Springfield, MA 01109

Updates a story posted Tuesday at 12:01 p.m.

SPRINGFIELD — Funeral services for Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose, killed in the line of duty Monday afternoon, are set for Friday morning and are expected to draw as many as 4,000 to 6,000 law enforcement officers to the city.

“The brotherhood in blue is very strong and they are going to come out for it,” said Sgt. John M. Delaney.

Charlene Mitchell, 29, shot by her estranged boyfriend, Shawn Bryan, 35, during the incident in the Sixteen Acres neighborhood, is in stable condition at UMass Medical Center in Worcester, Delaney said.

Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni, said, however, that her injuries are very serious and life-threatening. A victim witness advocate from his office is assisting Mitchell and her family, he said.

Police credit Ambrose with saving the lives of Mitchell and her 1-year-old daughter, Delaney said.

Ambrose, a member of the department for 36 years, died of multiple gunshots after he was shot just before 1 p.m. in the third-floor hallway of an apartment at 90 Lawton St.

The fallen officer’s body, escorted by some 20 city and state police cruisers, was borne to the state Medical Examiner’s Office in Boston on Tuesday morning for autopsy.

Delaney said the police officers and troopers stood by during the autopsy to bring Ambrose back home.

060512 springfield police cars boston kevin ambrose autopsy.jpgThe Republican | Dave RobackSpringfield police cars line up outside the medical examiner’s office in Boston on Tuesday. They escorted the body of Officer Kevin Ambrose.

Bryan went to his car after the shootings, got inside, and fatally shot himself in the chest.

Investigators, meanwhile, continue to probe the case. “It’s still ongoing,” Delaney, aide to Commissioner William J. Fitchet said. “Like any investigation of this magnitude there is a lot of people involved in it.”

Delaney said investigators are continuing to interview witnesses and analyze ballistics and “things of that nature.”

Delaney described the case, however, as “pretty much open and shut case.” Ballistic evidence inside Bryan’s car for example, prove that’s where he took his own life, Delaney said.

Mastroianni said he does not expect any charges to be filed because Bryan committed suicide.

“I foresee a need for an investigation just so we know the fine details,” he said.

Fitchet, speaking during a press conference outside the police station on Monday, said Mitchell called 911 at 12:47 p.m. to report that she had seen her estranged boyfriend, Bryan, near her apartment in violation of a restraining order and she was in fear for her life.

The restraining order had been issued roughly 30 minutes earlier by Springfield District Court.

Delaney said Mitchell was surprised to see Bryan here in Springfield. She thought he was supposed to be at Rikers Island in New York City where he works as a correctional officer, he said.

Bryan and Mitchell had been estranged for about 11 months. He was also the father of her 1-year-old daughter, according to court records.

Fitchet said Ambrose, who was patrolling that sector of Sixteen Acres in a one-man car, was the first officer to arrive on the scene. Other cars were also responding to the scene but had not yet arrived.

Although two police officers are typically dispatched to domestic violence calls, at this point in the unfolding scenario it was not regarded as such Delaney said.

“He was sent to prevent a breach (of peace),” Delaney said.

060512 springfield police station bunting for kevin ambrose.JPGView full sizeThe Republican | Mark M. MurrayMike Perrot, an electrician for the City of Springfield, puts up the bunting around the front door of the Springfield Police Headquarters at 130 Pearl St. in honor of fallen officer Kevin Ambrose.

When Ambrose arrived on scene, Mitchell and Bryan were outside together. After a brief discussion, Ambrose escorted Mitchell and Bryan inside to Mitchell’s apartment on the third floor. The court order allowed for Bryan to remove some of his belongings from the apartment, Fitchet said.

Once at the door to the apartment, Bryan suddenly turned violent, Fitchet said.

He shoved Mitchell inside the apartment and barricaded himself inside, Fitchet said. Ambrose tried pushing the door open from out in the hallway.

It was at that point, Fitchet said that Bryan “shot officer Ambrose through the door, striking him once,”

Bryan then opened the door again and shot Ambrose again before going out to his car to take his own life.

Delaney said Ambrose was athletic and had a physically imposing build. He theorized that’s why Bryan shot through the door. “This guy sized him up, that was the only way he could get the drop on him,” Delaney said.

Mastroianni said Michell has two children. The oldest was in school at the time of the shooting.

Bryan had been a correction officer since August 2009. His most recent posting was at Rikers Island, New York City’s largest jail complex, located on an island in the middle of the East River.

Bryan last worked there on Saturday, and he was scheduled to return to work on Tuesday, according to corrections officials in New York.

Dora B. Schriro, commissioner of the New York City Department of Correction, offered her condolences to Ambrose’s family.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy. We express our heartfelt condolences to the family of Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose, his fellow officers in the Springfield Police Department and the City of Springfield,” Schriro said in a statement Monday, adding that she was “shocked and saddened” by Monday’s events.

“Each of us takes an oath of office to preserve and protect the lives of others,” Schriro said.

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