Boston, MA – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed new legislation that will allow the widow of slain Weymouth Police Sergeant Michael Chesna to receive annual survivor’s benefits based on the rank of sergeant.
Sgt. Chesna was promoted from the rank of patrolman to sergeant the day after his murder in the line of duty.
“The Weymouth community has continued to show its support of the Chesna family,” Massachusetts State Representative James Murphy told Wicked Local.
He said it was a privilege to be involved in ensuring the measure was signed into law.
“We will be forever grateful for the sacrifice that Sgt. Michael Chesna made on behalf of all of us in protecting and serving our great town,” Murphy added.
The law also serves as a memorial to Sgt. Chesna’s heroism and sacrifice, Massachusetts State Representative Ronald Mariano told the news outlet.
“I’m proud of the way the Weymouth community has come together to support Sgt. Chesna’s family,” Mariano said.
Sgt. Chesna, 42, was murdered in the line of duty on July 15, after he spotted 20-year-old Emmanuel Lopes “actively vandalizing a home” in Burton Terrace, Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Greg Connor said during a press conference.
Sgt. Chesna got out of his patrol vehicle with his duty weapon drawn and ordered Lopes to stop, Connor explained.
He began chasing the suspect, who attacked Sgt. Chesna by hitting him in the head with a large rock, WCVB reported.
The strike knocked him to the ground, Connor said.
Lopes then stole the sergeant’s duty weapon and shot him several times in the head and chest.
Sgt. Chesna was rushed to South Shore Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
As other officers chased after Lopes on foot, he fired Sgt. Chesna’s weapon three more times.
One of the rounds fatally struck 77-year-old Vera Adams, who was sitting in her sunroom, The Patriot Ledger reported.
Lopes was also hit once in his lower leg during the gunfight with police, Connor said during the press conference.
He was subsequently apprehended and transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
Lopes has been indicted on two counts of murder, two counts of armed assault with intent to murder involving a firearm, larceny of a firearm, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, use of a motor vehicle without authority, carrying a firearm without an FID card, malicious destruction of property, leaving the scene of a collision causing property damage, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, WHDH reported.
Prior to his career in law enforcement, Sgt. Chesna served in the U.S. Army, including several tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, WCVB reported.
He was also a Purple Heart recipient, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Sgt. Chesna, a father of two, was killed just one day shy of his sixth anniversary with the department, Weymouth Police Chief Richard Grimes said during the press conference.
During a vigil the day after his murder, Chief Grimes promoted the officer to the rank of sergeant, the Wicked Local reported.
On Sep. 10, the Weymouth Town Council approved Mayor Robert Hedlund’s request to allow the town’s retirement system to pay the fallen hero’s widow a sergeant’s pension.
With the support of lawmakers, Baker signed the legislation into law on Nov. 2.
"I think it's important that we send a message, not only to the Chesna family that we appreciate what they have gone through and the service of Sergeant Chesna but at the same time we're sending a message that in the case of unspeakable tragedy we respect our officers, we respect law enforcement and we will take care of their families in the event of a tragedy," Senator Paul Feeney said, according to WCVB.