David L. Green dropped by his longtime friend’s house in Winthrop, Mass., on Saturday afternoon. The 58-year-old retired Massachusetts state trooper gave his friend’s wife some cherries and offered advice to their college-aged son, according to the Boston Globe.
About an hour later, a gunman “executed” Green, shooting him four times in the head and three times in the torso, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said at a news conference. The shooting took place outside Green’s Winthrop home, according to Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason.
The suspected gunman, 28-year-old Nathan Allen, moments earlier had crashed a stolen box truck into another residence, blocks away. He also allegedly killed Air Force veteran Ramona Cooper, 60, shooting her three times in the back around the same time he shot Green not far from the crash. It’s not clear if Cooper was near her home.
Shortly thereafter, a Winthrop Police sergeant shot and killed Allen, after repeatedly asking him to drop his weapons.
The dramatic scene unfolded in the quiet Massachusetts suburb of just more than 18,000, about six miles east of Boston. Now, authorities are investigating the killings as hate crimes, citing a preliminary investigation that found “troubling white supremacy rhetoric” by Allen, who wrote of the “superiority of the white race” and drew swastikas, Rollins said in a statement Sunday.
The incident comes as acts of violence fueled by hate and white supremacy are on the rise in the United States. Since 2015, there have been 267 plots or attacks by right-wing extremists and 91 fatalities, according to an analysis by The Washington Post. In March, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray acknowledged a rising tide of domestic terrorism and called it a “top concern.”
Although prosecutors have not concluded Allen’s alleged actions were hate crimes, Rollins pointed out Sunday that Allen drove the stolen truck at twice the speed limit toward Winthrop, where there are several Jewish temples. “We don’t know where he was going; that is mere speculation,” she told reporters. “We do know he had antisemitic rhetoric written in his own hand.”
Asked by a reporter whether Allen targeted Green and Cooper, who were both Black, Rollins said that after he crashed into the residence, Allen “walked by several other people that were not Black, and they are alive … and these two visible people of color are not.”
At about 2:40 p.m. Saturday, police responded to the intersection of Shirley and Cross streets after a man, later identified as Allen, allegedly stole a box truck owned by a plumbing company and then crashed into a residence near the intersection, police said. A witness told NECN he looked out his window and saw a man emerge from the truck disoriented and shoeless. He then saw the man run down the street, he said, before hearing gunshots.
“He started jogging, then I heard the boom boom boom boom. I looked down and the next thing I saw is the body in the middle of the street,” Robert Harrington, a witness, told NECN.
Nick Tsiotos, the friend whom Green had visited before the incident, said he believed the former state trooper rushed out to the scene of the crash and tried to help, WCVB reported. It’s unclear whether Green knew Allen was armed or whether he tried to intervene. He was nevertheless “shot in the head, neck, and torso repeatedly,” Rollins said.
There was little indication in Allen’s public life that he would be accused of carrying out such a rampage. He had a license to carry a firearm, was married, had a PhD and no criminal record, according to Rollins. For a time, he attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he met his wife, according to a Globe article published last August about Allen’s marriage plans during the pandemic.
One of Allen’s neighbors said he offered to help her multiracial son, who had a sensory-processing disorder, the Globe reported on Sunday. She said Allen would sit outside the building and write as though he was “taking notes” and that he received a lot of packages.
Allen was “so nice,” the neighbor told the Globe, “but there was something a little off about him.”