Bruins honor police officers shot in East Boston
Boston police and former Bruins players came together Wednesday night to honor Richard Cintolo and Matthew Morris, the two Hub officers seriously wounded in an October gun battle with a suspect in East Boston.
Members of the Boston Police Hockey Team squared off against the Boston Bruins Alumni squad in a benefit game at Porrazzo Memorial Skating Rink to show appreciation for the two officers, who are still recuperating from their injuries.
There was a heavy dose of pageantry before the game, with the Boston Police Gaelic Column playing rousing renditions of “Grand Ol’ Flag” and “God Bless America.”
In addition, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Police Commissioner William B. Evans briefly addressed the crowd of more than 200 spectators.
“The night before Thanksgiving is the perfect, fitting way to offer thanks” for the officers’ recovery, Walsh said.
Evans told reporters before the event that Cintolo and Morris are doing well but face a long road back to full health.
“We’re real proud of how brave they were,” he said. “I hope they recover enough to come back.”
The men were shot by 33-year-old Kirk Figueroa when they responded to a call for a domestic disturbance at his residence.
Figueroa was killed in the ensuing shootout with additional officers, who were credited with saving the lives of their injured colleagues.
One of those officers, Eric Schmidt, joined Cintolo, Morris, and former Bruin Terry O’Reilly for the ceremonial puck drop.
The game came two days after police announced that Morris had been released from a Spaulding Rehabilitation Network facility.
Cintolo was released from Massachusetts General Hospital a week after the deadly confrontation.
Morris was greeted warmly by fellow officers when he entered the rink Wednesday night, walking gingerly with a cane.
Cintolo arrived at the event with his left arm in a sling, wearing a blue jersey commemorating the benefit game. He and Morris were both given the custom jerseys for the game.
Cintolo smiled widely as he spoke with fellow officers before the start of the festivities. Neither injured officer spoke to the media.
Evans thanked staffers at Mass. General and Spaulding Rehab for providing “great medical care” to both of the police officers, and he also praised the public for supporting the men through their recovery.
“I think obviously they’re overwhelmed by the support,” Evans said.
Walsh, in remarks to reporters beforehand, marveled at the tenacity of Cintolo and Morris as they continue to work through their recovery.
“Not too long ago, these two guys were in tough shape,” Walsh said. “We were concerned about losing both officers. . . . The job they have is a tough job, and they do it well.”
Among the former Bruins who attended were Guy Larose and Cleon Daskalakis.
Boston City Councilor Sal LaMattina, who represents the neighborhood, also attended the game.
“I’m glad we’re here tonight, because we’re celebrating,” he said. “We’re thankful to celebrate” both officers.