PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Since the death of Yarmouth K9 Officer Sean Gannon, the law enforcement community has offered an outpouring of support on social media.
Police departments across the nation have posted messages of support for the Yarmouth Police Department on Facebook and Twitter.
As the day went on in Yarmouth, the memorial on Gannon’s police cruiser grew. By the end of the day, it was covered in flowers, balloons and mementos from the community.
Gannon, 32, was shot while he and other officers were serving a warrant at a home on Blueberry Lane in Barnstable Thursday. He was shot in the head and immediately transported to Cape Cod Hospital, where he later died.
Blue lights lined the road as Gannon’s body was transported to the medical examiner’s office. Officers stood at attention outside of the hospital.
The suspect, 29-year-old Thomas Latanowich, is being charged with murder. As he faced a judge Friday, many of Gannon’s brothers in blue filled the courtroom.
“Something can go wrong and when it goes wrong, there’s no question about how those police officers bound tightly, because you can’t break that bond and I don’t care if you’re from California or you’re from Maine,” Retired Rhode Island State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell knows this bond first hand. He said he’s been to several funerals for officers killed in the line of duty, including Providence Detective Sgt. James Allen back in 2005.
“Going to a police officer’s funeral that was murdered in the line of duty is probably without question the worst thing that could happen to someone in law enforcement,” O’Donnell said.
Many officers may wear different uniforms, be from different departments or have different jobs, but O’Donnell said it doesn’t matter.
“Every cop on the street says, ‘That could have been me,'” O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell’s son is now a police officer. He said officers and families know about the risks that can come with the job of protecting their communities, but never expect the worst that Yarmouth and the Gannon family are now dealing with.
“Everybody’s hearts and sympathies go out to him and his family but his family has to deal with that forever,” O’Donnell said.
A vigil for Gannon is scheduled for Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Yarmouth Police Department.