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A Sea of Blue

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Six thousand police officers from around the Northeast and Canada joined hundreds of Springfield officers to pay their respects last Friday to Kevin Ambrose, the city police officer who was shot and killed responding to a domestic disturbance earlier in the week.

Ambrose, a 36-year veteran of the SPD, had been sent to a Sixteen Acres apartment after a woman there called to say that her ex-boyfriend, against whom she'd just obtained a restraining order, was in the area. When Ambrose arrived, the boyfriend, Shawn Bryan, a New York corrections officer, allegedly shot the officer and the woman and then fatally shot himself. The woman, Charlene Mitchell, survived and is now in stable condition. The couple's year-old daughter was at the apartment at the time but was unharmed.

Ambrose's funeral drew elected officials, including Gov. Deval Patrick, Sen. Scott Brown, U.S. Rep. Richie Neal and Mayor Domenic Sarno. Shortly after Ambrose's death, Sarno had issued a prepared statement offering condolences to the officer's family. Ambrose, said Sarno, "wore his badge with honor and integrity and served our city with a tremendous amount of pride and passion. ... 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."

Thousands of residents waited in line for hours to attend Ambrose's wake the day before his burial. Others lined the route of his funeral procession, some waving flags, others holding signs expressing their condolences and gratitude for his service.

Ambrose is survived by his wife and two grown children. He is the first Springfield police officer killed in the line of duty since the 1985 deaths of officers Alain Beauregard and Michael Schiavina, who were shot during a traffic stop. As in the Ambrose case, their killer, Eduardo Ortiz, killed himself before police could apprehend him.

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