Witnesses: ‘Friendly fire’ may have struck MBTA officer

MBTA Officer Richard Donohue, 33, is slowly recovering from a serious gun shot wound sustained during a shoot out with Boston bombing suspects.
MBTA Officer Richard Donohue, 33, is slowly recovering from a serious gunshot wound sustained during a shootout with Boston bombing suspects.

An eyewitness to the Watertown shootout with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said an MBTA Transit Police officer may have been wounded by friendly fire.

Officer Richard “Dic” Donohue is recovering at Mount Auburn Hospital from a gunshot wound to his upper right thigh. Doctors said Donohue lost so much blood during the April 19 shootout that he nearly died, but he’s now expected to make a full recovery.

Donohue and his partner were among the first officers on scene at the intersection of Dexter Avenue and Laurel Street, where bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stopped the SUV they allegedly carjacked earlier that night.

At least a dozen officers from four different police agencies engaged in gunfire with the suspects, with about 300 bullets fired in all. The Tsarnaevs also reportedly launched explosives at the police, including at least one bomb similar to the pressure cookers used at the marathon finish line.

Witnesses told the Boston Globe that Donohue appeared to have been wounded near the end of the confrontation, after Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot and his brother Dzhokhar was driving away.

Jane Dyson lives just 140 feet away from where Donohue went down and provided a statement of what she saw to the Globe.

“A black SUV appeared, and rapid gun fire was focused on the vehicle,” Dyson wrote. “It appeared to me that an individual at the corner [of the street] fell to the ground and had probably been hit in the gunfire.”

“I later learned that the individual who had been shot was Officer Richard Donohue,” Dyson said. Her statement was supported by two other eyewitnesses to the shootout.

State police said the investigation into how Donohue was wounded is still in process, but defended the officers’ actions.

“Considering the chaos on those dark streets, where a pair of homicidal terrorists were firing shots and throwing bombs at police, the fact that friendly-fire incidents may have ­occurred detracts nothing, not one bit, from the valor and heroism of the officers and troopers who caught up to them that night,” state police spokesman David Procopio told the Globe.

An expert on law enforcement tactics agreed.

“It’s arguably a wartime situation,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police ­Executive Research Forum. “Police agencies are not generally prepared for the kind of wartime situation that these officers encountered.”

The Middlesex District Attorney’s office is investigating two other possible “friendly fire” incidents from that night. In one, another Transit Police officer was grazed by a bullet; in the third, a Boston vehicle was damaged after an officer shot at it, apparently believing it to be the suspects’ SUV.

Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBos


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.