By John Lynds
It came in the form of an impromptu gathering outside of the District A-7 Police Station Thursday, a candle light vigil Friday and a special Mass at St. Joseph-St. Lazarus Church on Monday. The outpouring of support from the East Boston community to the men and women who serve on the Boston Police has not stopped since Officers Richard Cintolo and Matt Morris were shot and seriously wounded in a shoot out with Kirk Figueroa last Wednesday night.
“The support has been overwhelming,” said Police Commissioner William Evans at a gathering outside District A-7 last Thursday. “The support this community has given its police is really remarkable. I want to thank the community. This is quite a turnout. We have gotten such an outpouring of support and we really appreciate it. There is so much being done by the community for these officers.”
By Thursday morning everyday citizens were coming in droves to drop off homemade food to the station for the officers as well as donations of food from local restaurants and sub shops across the neighborhood.
“They have enough on their mind without having to worry about grabbing lunch,” said Michael Sanchez of Dough East Boston who sent platters of sandwiches to the station. “They are all great guys down there.”
Mayor Martin Walsh said the outpouring of support from the officers at the police stations for Cintolo and Morris as well as the community was something special
“What struck me was when I was at the hospital and talking to all the officers involved and what hit me was how close this station was but also all the different nationalities of all the officers,” said Walsh. “You had African American officers, you had Latino officers, we had white officers, Irish and Italian–it didn’t matter where they came from or their background. All that mattered is that they looked out for one another just like this community here in East Boston and just like you being here tonight looking out for one another. I just want to thank this community for being such a strong community in the city.”
District A-7 Captain Kelly McCormick became emotional not only at the outpouring of support Thursday night following the incident but at Friday night’s vigil. While McCormick thanked the residents of Eastie he also addressed the children of Eastie that may have been scared by last week’s events.
“On behalf of all my officers at District 7 we can’t say thank you enough. It’s a small word to say thank you but we really do thank the community wholeheartedly,” said McCormick. “As I walked up the hill during the vigil I saw some kids and I want to address the kids at this time. There’s a time to be quite, there’s a time for prayer, there’s a time for reflection but there is also a time for fun. East Boston is a safe place and I promise you it is a safe place. Go have fun. I want to the kids of East Boston to go have fun. This is your neighborhood, go out and enjoy it. This is a safe neighborhood. You are all safe. So go have fun now.”
State Rep. Adrian Madaro said the support of the police has made him so proud to represent the neighborhood.
“I’ve always been proud to represent this neighborhood but for the past two days I have been the most proud I have ever been because of the people in this community that have come out to support our police,” said Madaro. “We ask a lot of our police at District 7. Everyday they put their lives on the line for us but when that incident happened two nights ago and the community rallied around the police it showed we had their backs and that is what makes me so proud.”
City Councilor Sal LaMattina added that he was equally as proud and that the outpouring of support not only means a lot to the officers but to their families.
“It shows that we are all one big family here in East Boston,” said LaMattina. “And these last two days have really shown the city how District 7 is part of family. A lot of these men and women come from East Boston, live in East Boston and have served at the station for years. We need to keep praying for the men and women in blue.”
Eastie resident Marissa Capone Todisco who organized a Mass Monday night said wanted to something to honor the injured men.
“The turnout was more than expected, the outpour of support was amazing,” she said. “It was important to get the community together to stand as one and honor the lives of all Boston Police offices but special prayers for Matt (Morris) and Richie (Cintolo).”