Officer Ambrose laid to rest in city he servedJune 11, 2012
By Chris Maza
SPRINGFIELD Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose, one of the department's most seasoned veterans, was killed in the line of duty while reporting to a domestic violence situation at the Lawton Arms Apartments on Lawton Street shortly before 1 p.m. on June 4.
Ambrose, who wore badge No. 7, served with the Springfield Police Department for 36 years after two years as a cadet.
"On behalf of the city of Springfield and our residents I extend my heartfelt condolences to the family of Springfield Police Officer Kevin Ambrose who wore his badge with honor and integrity and served our city with a tremendous amount of pride and passion. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at Springfield City Hall are with Kevin's loving family at this very difficult and emotional time," Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said.
"The men and women in blue at the Springfield Police Department, like police departments throughout the country, are faced with very challenging, difficult and dangerous situations on a daily basis. For this, we owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to our police officers and their families. Today, Officer Ambrose paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving the residents of our city. He will be sadly missed by his fellow officers and the community at-large," he continued.
Ambrose was responding to a 911 call from Charlene Mitchell, a resident of the apartments, who said was in fear of her life following a dispute with Shawn Bryan, her ex-boyfriend and father of her 1-year-old child, against whom she had just taken out a restraining order, according to police.
When Ambrose, who was alone, arrived he found the two outside and escorted them to her apartment to allow Bryan to retrieve his belongings as other officers dispatched to the scene were en route.
When the apartment door was opened, Bryan pushed the woman into the apartment and slammed the door. As Ambrose attempted to push the door open, Bryan fired a handgun through it, striking Ambrose. Bryan then opened the door, shot Ambrose again, and then shot the Mitchell, wounding her. He then went to his car where he committed suicide with a gunshot to the chest.
While one of the most common calls police officers respond to, instances of domestic violence are one of the most dangerous situations an officer can walk into, Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni explained.
"Inherent in a domestic violence call is knowing that you're going to be dealing with parties whose emotions are out there. If it rises to a level where a restraining order is issued by a court, you know there is already some stressors that have been evident and some signs of danger," he said. "Right away, you're dealing with people who are angry and on the fringe, especially if someone is getting a restraining order served against them. It really creates a situation where officers know there is danger."
According to his obituary, Ambrose, a Wilbraham resident who was raised in Springfield, was a decorated officer, having received four commendations. In addition to that, he was a communicant of St. Cecelia's Church in Wilbraham and an avid sports fan, volunteering his time to coach youth soccer, baseball and basketball. He is survived by his wife, two children and one granddaughter.
His death marked the first time a Springfield police officer had been killed in the line of duty since 1985 when Officer Alain J. Beauregard and Officer Michael J. Schiavina were shot and killed. In total, 16 Springfield police officers have fallen in the line of duty.
Ambrose became the 42nd police officer in the country to die in the line of duty this year and 17th to die as a result of gunfire, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, www.odmp.org.
On June 7, thousands of people, including a multitude of local and out-of-town law enforcement officers and staff, lined up to pay their respects to Ambrose at a five-hour wake at Sampson's Chapel of the Acres funeral home on Tinkham Road in Springfield.
Ambrose was laid to rest at Hillcrest Park Cemetery on Parker Street after a funeral service at St. Catherine of Siena Church on June 8.
Local residents joined thousands of local and out-of-town law enforcement officers outside the church to honor Ambrose.
A memorial fund has been set up in Ambrose's honor. Donations may be sent to Kevin E. Ambrose Memorial Fund, c/o Greater Springfield Credit Union, 1030 Wilbraham Road, Springfield, MA 01109.