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Waltham chief choked wife, lawyer says

Patrick Whittemore/ Pool/ Boston Herald

Police Chief Thomas LaCroix waited for his Concord District Court hearing.

CONCORD — Waltham ­Police Chief Thomas M. ­LaCroix grabbed his wife in a choke hold June 12 and slammed her onto a kitchen counter of their Maynard home, a Middlesex prosecutor said Thursday.

That night LaCroix also talked about killing his wife, her friend, and himself, Assistant District Attorney Suzanne Kontz said Thursday in the first public account of the alleged ­attack.

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At the conclusion of a dangerous­ness hearing in ­Concord, District Court Judge Paul Yee agreed to release ­LaCroix to a family member’s custody provided he wears a GPS bracelet and reports within 24 hours to an inpatient mental health care facility.

LaCroix is charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of assault and battery, two counts of threatening to kill, one count of assault, and one count of intimidating a witness.

Mayor Jeannette McCarthy, who appointed LaCroix chief in 2008, has placed him on paid administrative leave. The city has seized his firearm and his badge, Waltham officials said.

LaCroix’s attorney, Peter ­Bella, argued Thursday that the GPS bracelet was unnecessary, telling Yee his client poses no danger to himself or to others.

The hearing and police ­records released afterward ­offered new details about last week’s incident.


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LaCroix had been drinking heavily on the day of the alleged attack and smelled of alcohol during his arrest two days later, police records say. They allege LaCroix had assaulted his wife in the past, including one incident in which he fired five rounds into a door of their home.

The June 12 incident followed a quarrel that morning when LaCroix intercepted a work-related text message his wife had sent to a male co-worker, according to the ­records.

When LaCroix’s wife’s returned from work, a confrontation ensued. She then showed up “hysterical” at a friend’s home with a bruised lip and a limp, Kontz told the judge Thursday. LaCroix’s wife had fled her home without her keys, shoes, or phone.

At some point after that, Kontz said, LaCroix’s wife and her friend returned to LaCroix’s home. In a second attack, ­LaCroix allegedly slammed his wife onto the counter and threw her into a bicycle rack.

The attacks left LaCroix’s wife badly bruised, according to police records, and she was treated at Newton Wellesley Hospital.

LaCroix, a father of two, has been an officer for 27 years.

Under the terms of his ­release, LaCroix must cooperate with random drug and alcohol screenings and avoid all contact with his wife and the other alleged victim of the incident last week.

The allegations against him reflect the unpredictability of domestic violence cases, Laura Van Zandt, executive director at REACH Beyond Domestic Violence, said Thursday.

“The reality is that it can happen anywhere, to anyone,” she said.

Adam Sege can be reached at Follow
him on Twitter @AdamSege.
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