BARNSTABLE, Massachusetts — Yarmouth police Sgt. Sean Gannon was fatally shot during a second sweep of the attic where his alleged killer was holed up with drugs and thousands of dollars in cash, according to new information provided by prosecutors about the April 12 incident in Marstons Mills.
Gannon, 32, and his K-9 partner Nero were at 109 Blueberry Lane along with six other officers from the Barnstable and Yarmouth police departments and the state police to serve an arrest warrant on Thomas Latanowich, 29, for a probation violation issued by Middlesex Superior Court, according to a statement from the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office.
After clearing the house, Gannon, Nero and another officer entered an unfinished attic through a hole in the ceiling of a bedroom closet, the statement says. They found two backpacks near the opening, one containing a large amount of drugs and the other containing clothing. No people were found in the attic.
A short time later, the officers received evidence that there was someone in the attic and Gannon, Nero and two other officers returned through the same hole in the closet ceiling.
When they swept the attic again, they noticed a piece of insulation, which was covering an opening into another section of attic created by an addition onto the house, the statement says. When they removed the insulation, Gannon was shot immediately.
The other officers pulled him down through the hole in the closet ceiling and began attending to him, according to the statement. They then withdrew from the house and reinforced the perimeter until first responders and additional police arrived.
Gannon was brought to Cape Cod Hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the statement. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be a single gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death to be homicide.
Latanowich later surrendered and was taken into custody. After he surrendered, Nero, who had also been shot, was removed from the house, the statement says. Nero survived and is recovering from his injuries.
Investigators searched the property over the next few days, including tearing apart the roof and cutting a pipe into the septic system, and found a semi-automatic handgun broken down into several pieces — slide, spring, magazine and barrel and frame — hidden in different parts of the house, the statement says. They also found two live rounds in a toilet and shell casings in the attic as well as more than $25,000 bundled and hidden in a bedroom wall, the statement says. Officers recovered $4,000 in cash from Latanowich when he was booked.
All evidence found in the house is at various stages of processing at the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory.
Latanowich has been charged with murder in the first degree and one count of mistreating a police dog.
He is scheduled to appear in Barnstable District Court for a probable cause hearing June 26.
Latanowich has been arraigned on more than 100 charges stemming from dozens of separate incidents since 2005. The vast majority of those charges, including assault and battery on a pregnant victim, motor vehicle theft and numerous drug and firearms violations, were dismissed for a variety of reasons. Many cases were dismissed after evidence had been suppressed or victims were unwilling to testify, according to court documents.
Latanowich was sentenced to serve four to five years in prison in 2010 after pleading guilty in Barnstable Superior Court to assault with a dangerous weapon and related firearms charges, but was released on parole in 2013. He also pleaded guilty to threatening to ?commit ?a crime, ?intimidation of ?a witness,? knowingly ?receiving?? ?stolen ?property, ?possession to ?distribute ?heroin, ?possession to ?distribute ?a ?class D? drug? and ?possession of ?a firearm ?without ?a permit, and was sentenced to five years probation.
Two people who were living at the Blueberry Lane home where Gannon was shot were scheduled to be evicted Tuesday, several months after the owners officially began trying to get them out of the house, according to court records. The house has appeared to be vacant since the shooting aside from investigators.
— Staff writer Kristen Young contributed to this report. Follow Madeleine List on Twitter: @madeleine_list.
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