Vigil honors 2 Black residents killed by white man
WINTHROP, Mass. (AP) — Residents of a secluded, Boston-area coastal community are trying to come to terms with the shooting of two Black residents in what authorities say was a racially motivated killing over the weekend.
Nathan Allen, a 28-year-old white man, was not on the radar of law enforcement. His social media accounts also gave no hints that he held racist beliefs or might explain why he crashed a stolen truck and then gunned down a Black retired state trooper and a Black Air Force veteran.
Neighbors in his condo community said Allen struck them as just another tenant.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” said Mary Harrington, 75, who lives a few doors down from Allen in the complex, earlier this week. “It’s kind of scary knowing someone next door is that sick.”
Officials in the community near Logan International Airport held a vigil to honor the victims Thursday night in front of town hall. Family and friends of the shooting victims were among the crowd that held a moment of silence, a candlelight vigil and sang “Amazing Grace.”
“He was a wonderful guy. He loved everybody,” said Aria Green, the brother of David Green, a 68-year-old retired Massachusetts State Police trooper who was shot four times in the head and three times in the torso by Allen.
Little has been disclosed about what triggered Allen, leaving some fearful and anxious in the nearly all-white town.
Green and Ramona Cooper were each shot multiple times by Allen after he crashed a stolen box truck into a residential building not far from his condo. Allen was killed by police moments later.
The mayhem was a stark contrast to Allen’s online persona. Just days before the attack, in what would be his final Facebook post, he wished his wife happy birthday and posted a photo from their wedding last September. Their engagement was profiled months earlier by The Boston Globe.
His since-deleted social media accounts featured pictures of the couple’s pet rabbit and their travels through Europe years earlier.
Allen also shared videos from a Boston boxing gym he’d recently joined. The club, in a since deleted Facebook post, thanked Allen last summer for raising $800 to benefit the club’s summer youth program.
Allen grew up in Wareham near Cape Cod, the son of a Navy medic and elementary school teacher.
He met his future wife as a student at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth, where they graduated in 2014. In January, he earned a doctorate in physical therapy from the MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston.
“To all external sources he likely appeared unassuming,” Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said earlier this week. “This shooter was married and employed. He had a Ph.D. and no criminal history. ”
She said Allen privately expressed anti-Semitic and anti-Black sentiments in a handwritten notebook. Rollins, who is Black, hasn’t detailed the writings other than to say they included swastikas and references to whites being “apex predators” and the superior race.
“When he became radicalized, or when he started believing these things, we are not certain yet,” she said. “But I am confident saying that there was hate in this man’s heart.”
It’s unclear where Allen was headed on the day of the shooting. He encountered several other people who were not Black and didn’t harm them.
Allen shot Cooper, a 60-year-old Air Force veteran, three times in the back. He then shot Green. Witnesses said later Green was attempting to intervene.
Allen’s wife and family haven’t spoken publicly about the shooting. Earlier this week, a woman answered the door buzzer at the couple’s condo but quickly hung up.
Fatima Elhoud, who lives in the Allen’s building but didn’t know the couple, said she was surprised her neighbor could have been so racist, considering the complex was fairly diverse.
“It’s definitely scary, especially if you have kids,” the native of Morocco said as she and her husband walked their two young sons to the complex’s pool one recent afternoon. “We’ve lived here more than 20 years. It’s always been safe.”