I'm sure we all remember the horrific Boston Marathon bombing back on April 15, 2013. In that savage attack two homemade pressure cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the race. Three people were killed and hundreds more were injured. At least 16 of those who were injured lost limbs.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) eventually identified the two men involved. They were brothers Dzhokhar Tsamaev and Tamerian Tsamaev. Before their vicious crime spree finally ended, shortly after midnight on April 19, 2013, the brothers murdered Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Police Officer Sean Collier
, in Cambridge. A surveillance camera at MIT reportedly captured the Tsamaev brothers approaching Officer Collier's police vehicle from behind.
Officer Sean Collier was shot five times as he sat alone in his patrol car. Whoever shot Officer Collier apparently tried to steal the officer's gun from his holster, but was unable to do so.
The two brothers also carjacked/kidnapped a man and his car. They were eventually located in nearby Watertown, Massachusetts.
Law enforcement officers from many different agencies responded to the Watertown area. Officer Simmonds was among the first Boston police officers to arrive in Watertown, and he and his fellow officers quickly found themselves engaged in a deadly shootout with the two brothers.
During the 20-minute firefight two police officers were wounded.
Richard "Dic" Donohue
, a transit officer with the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), was apparently hit by a police bullet. He was hit in the groin, he began to bleed profusely and he lost so much blood that he almost died.
In June of 2015 the Middlesex District Attorney's Office concluded that then-Officer Donohue was probably accidentally shot by one of the other 19 officers who were shooting at the two Tsarnaevs brothers.
In May of 2015, after almost two years, Officer Donohue was able to return to work. He was also promoted to sergeant. But, early in 2016 Sergeant Donohue (age: 36) announced that he was retiring. The ongoing and intense pain he continued to endure made it impossible for Sgt. Donohue to deal with the rigors of the law enforcement profession.
Sgt. Donohue accepted an adjunct professorship at Fisher College (in Boston), teaching criminal justice. Note: I went to the Fisher College web page, but was unable to find anything there regarding Richard Donohue teaching there, so I don't really know if he's still working there.
Officer D.J. Simmonds
, from Boston P.D., was also injured during the violent confrontation with the two Tsarnaevs brothers. Officer Simmonds suffered a head injury when one of the suspects tossed an explosive device towards him. The two subjects had thrown as many as a half-dozen homemade bombs at the officers, but several of these were duds. Unfortunately though, the bomb that landed near Officer Simmonds was
one of these duds.
Tamerian Tsarnaevs had been hit by police gunfire and he was also run over by his own brother, when Dzhokhar fled the scene of the shootout in their stolen vehicle. Tamerian was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
After a lenghty search for the remaining brother (Dzhokhar), which reportedly involved thousands of law enforcement officers searhing a 20-block area of Watertown, Dzhokhar was found hiding in a boat. He had also been wounded.
On April 10, 2014, almost a year to the day later, Officer Simmonds suffered a medical emergency as a result of the injuries he had sustained when the bomb exploded near him. Officer Simmonds fell ill during a workout and he died at the hospital of a brain aneurysm. He was just 28.
Officer Simmonds, and other BPD officers, received the prestigious Schroeder Brothers Medal, the BPD's highest award and honor for courage and bravery.
On June 14, 2018, he was posthumously promoted from Officer to Sergeant.
Sgt. Simmonds name is on the Boston Police Memorial at Boston Police Headquarters and at the State Memorial at the State House. A Hero sign has also been placed at the Boston Police Academy.
Sgt. Simmonds name is on the National Law Enforcement Memorial (Panel 33 East Line 29), in Washington, D.C.
Dennis "D.J." Simmonds is buried at the Forest Hills Cemetery, in Jamaica Plain. The locals call Jamaica Plain "J.P." and it is a nice neighborhood located within the City of Boston.
What happened to the terrorist Dzhokhar Tsamaev? On April 8, 2015, he was convicted of 30 charges, which included the use of a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. Then, two months later, on June 24, 2015, he was sentenced to death.
Initially, Sgt. Simmonds death apparently did not receive the proper recognition that it deserved. His death was not from natural causes and it was a direct result of the Tsamaev brothers actions. Eventually, in May of 2015, the state retirement board recognized that Sgt. Simmonds passing was a line-of-duty death.
PoliceOne.com is an outstanding law enforcement-related site and several years ago they posted an excellent article regarding Sgt. Simmonds. It is titled:
"Unsung hero: The story of the Boston bombing's fifth victim"
Cole Zercoe is the author of this article. He is the Senior Associate Editor of PoliceOne.
Again, this is an excellent article and I would recommend that you read it. I learned a lot of new information that I never knew before, especially about Sergeant Dennis "D.J." Simmonds, who was the fifth fatality of the Boston bombing.
If you click on the button below it will take you to the PoliceOne article about BPD Sergeant Dennis "D.J." Simmonds.