‘I killed a cop,’ suspect allegedly said in message after Yarmouth officer slain

Minutes after allegedly firing the shots that killed Yarmouth police Officer Sean M. Gannon and wounded his K-9 partner, Thomas M. Latanowich contacted a former girlfriend and told her in a voice mail and text messages what he had just done.

“I shot a cop,’’ Latanowich said in a voice mail left on the phone of his ex-girlfriend, Kimberly Bearse. “I killed a cop.”

In a series of text messages a few minutes later, sent while he was in the attic of a small Barnstable house surrounded by police, Latanowich seemed intent on murdering more police officers, according to the text messages made public in Barnstable District Court records.


“I am taking as many as I can,’’ he texted at 3:40 p.m. April 12.

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And in the following three minutes, Latanowich sent what Cape and Islands prosecutors are likely to argue is a confession to the shooting of Gannon and his K-9 partner, Nero, who were part of a team of law enforcement officers attempting to arrest Latanowich on a probation violation warrant.

“I already shot him,’’ he texted at 3:41 p.m.

“I killed a cop,’’ he texted at 3:43 p.m.

“I shot a K-9,’’ he texted at 3:44 p.m.


Bearse, at the request of police, came out to the standoff on Blueberry Lane in the Marston Mills neighborhood in Barnstable to try to talk Latanowich, 29, into surrendering without any more gunfire, according to a State Police report filed in court.

Although the report does not state whether Bearse spoke with Latanowich while at the scene, he peacefully surrendered at 5:30 p.m. to the heavily armed SWAT officers, officials have said.

Latanowich was arraigned in Barnstable District Court last month, and a not-guilty plea to charges of murder and assault and battery on a police dog were entered on his behalf. He was ordered held without bail and is due back in court June 26, records show.

Latanowich was being sought for violating probation April 4 when he was not at a home in Somerville to take a drug test he was required to take since pleading guilty in Barnstable Superior Court to gun and drug charges, records show.

Latanowich was described by law enforcement as a career criminal, pointing to his extensive adult criminal history that generated 28 cases against him in Barnstable District Court alone. His record also includes a four-year state prison term, and he has more than 110 entries on his criminal history, records show.


Many of the district court cases, which date back to 2005, were dismissed. Sometimes the cases were dismissed when the victim refused to go forward, and in at least two cases he was found not guilty by a judge, a Globe review of the Barnstable District Court records indicates.

Gannon was 32 years old and considered a rising star in the Cape Cod law enforcement community, especially in his department, where his death has sparked Police Chief Frank Frederickson to push for changes in the state’s criminal justice system.

Nero, the K-9, underwent emergency surgery and has since been living with Peter McClelland, who helped train him for police work.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.


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