Mass.: Officer shot himself during warrant attempt
Kim Ring, Telegram & Gazette Staff
Robert D. Morrow Jr., 45, allegedly turned his gun on himself as two troopers approached him in the driveway at 123 Pleasant St., where he and his wife lived. State police said Officer Morrow led them on a short chase before pulling into the driveway just after 6 p.m. Monday.
Police Sgt. William C. Gregoire yesterday recalled Officer Morrow, saying that his friend had experienced "bumps in the road" recently.
"I've always had good dealings with Bobby," Sgt. Gregoire said. "He was well-respected and an active member of the department. He was always participating in the different programs we have."
Officer Morrow helped out with the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, assisted in organizing fundraisers and always enjoyed the children's Christmas party officers throw each year. Sgt. Gregoire said the 16-man department's members were stunned, saddened and troubled by Monday's events.
Court documents tell a tale of a marriage that had recently become troubled: Officer Morrow allegedly beat his wife the day before Easter and held a gun to her head Sunday night. In paperwork related to a restraining order sought Monday, Denise Morrow wrote that her husband had kicked in the door to a spare bedroom where she had retreated after a verbal argument the night before.
"He threw me on the bed and held a gun to my head," she wrote. "He also threatened to kill me if I went to the police."
State Trooper John Conron said in a report that Mrs. Morrow pushed the gun away and convinced her husband to go upstairs and talk. She also convinced him to put the gun away.
Troopers had sought an arrest warrant for Officer Morrow that listed charges of assault with intent to murder, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and destruction of property.
In May, Mrs. Morrow asked the court to vacate a restraining order she had sought a day earlier when her husband allegedly beat her, leaving bruises on her arm. The order required Officer Morrow to refrain from abusing his wife and to abstain from using alcohol or drugs.
On May 1, a judge lifted the order after Mrs. Morrow wrote that things had gotten better. "Robert has not drank (sic) alcohol, threatened me or abused me," she wrote. "I feel this will never be a factor again."
As troopers and local police from area towns converged on Pleasant Street Monday night, stunned neighbors gathered in the street. One said Officer Morrow had recently become a grandfather. Some said they heard gunshots while others reported they had heard nothing until ambulances and cruises raced onto the normally quiet street, which is not far from the police station.
Officer Morrow had served as an auxiliary officer before being promoted to part-time status several years ago. He also was a tow truck driver and part owner of Falcon Recovery, a repossession business in East Brookfield, according to Sgt. Gregoire.
In 1991, he resigned from the force after comments he made about the victims in a murder-suicide left their families angry. The resignation came months after he had been reappointed on a probationary status. Selectmen said they were concerned about reports that he and another officer had used excessive speed on and off duty; had police badges other than those issued; had illegally used "wig-wag" (flashing) lights on their private cars, and had worn their service weapons when they were not on duty.
He was later reappointed.
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