An Air Force veteran and a retired Massachusetts state trooper who were fatally shot near Boston over the weekend may have been targeted because they were Black, a district attorney said. The victims were identified as retired Massachusetts State Police Trooper Dave Green and Ramona Cooper, a 60-year-old staff sergeant in the Air Force.
Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins identified the shooter as a 28-year-old White man, Nathan Allen, and said investigators found "troubling" antisemitic and racist statements in his writings.
Rollins said Allen stole a box truck and was driving at a high rate of speed when it crashed into another vehicle and a home in Winthrop on Saturday. While his motive remains unclear, Rollins said Allen walked away from the wreck past several people who were not Black before opening fire on bystanders Green and Cooper, Rollins said.
"They are alive and these two visible people of color are not," Rollins told reporters.
Cooper was shot three times in the back and died, Rollins said. Green was shot four times in the head and three times in the torso. Allen was then fatally shot by police.
Rollins said the investigation was in the preliminary stages, but vowed to uncover Allen's motive. She said his writings contained statements that were anti-Semitic and racist against Black individuals, but she did not provide further detail. Rollins' office later said in a statement Allen "wrote about the superiority of the white race" and "about whites being 'apex predators," and drew swastikas.
The office said Allen was married and employed, had a Ph.D. and no criminal history. Rollins said Allen was legally licensed to carry a gun.
She said it was a "sad day" for the community.
"These two people protected our rights -- they fought for us to be safe and to have the opinions that we have, and they were executed yesterday," Rollins said. "We will find out why and find out more about the man that did this."
Winthrop Police Chief Terrance Delahanty said "we have no tolerance for hate in this community."
Green served as a state trooper for 36 years, Rollins said. Green retired from the state police in 2016, Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason told The Associated Press. He was outside his home when he was fatally shot, Mason said. A state police spokesperson said Saturday that officials are investigating whether the male victim "may have been trying to engage the suspect to end the threat," the AP reports.
"Trooper Green was widely respected and well-liked by his fellow Troopers, several of whom yesterday described him as a 'true gentleman' and always courteous to the public and meticulous in his duties," Mason told the AP in an emailed statement. "From what we learned yesterday, he was held in equally-high regard by his neighbors and friends in Winthrop."