Mother of slain Mass. officer wishes police got more respect

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BOSTON (AP) — The mother of a Massachusetts police officer who was shot dead during a weekend traffic stop says she wishes police got more respect. Sharon Tarentino’s comments come as she prepares to bury her son later this week.

“I just wish people had a little bit more respect for what they do — nobody has respect for them anymore,” Tarentino told the Boston Herald.

Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr., 42, was fatally shot by Jorge Zambrano early Sunday in Auburn, authorities said. The shooting sparked a statewide manhunt for Zambrano, who was shot and killed by police about 18 hours later after he fired at them from a bedroom closet inside a duplex apartment in Oxford, injuring a state trooper, according to state officials.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you, it hits you like a sledgehammer. It’s just not fair,” Sharon Tarentino told the newspaper by phone from her home in Tewksbury.

Officer Tarentino had been with the Auburn police force for two years, and before that worked with the Leicester Police Department in his hometown. His mother said he had followed in his father’s footsteps. Ronald Tarentino Sr. was a Medford police officer who had retired recently.

“He was our first born. His kids are older but they are still going to grow up without their father, and Tricia without her husband,” Tarentino said, referring to her son’s widow and the couple’s three boys.

The man suspected in the slaying, Zambrano, 35, had a lengthy criminal record. Officials on Monday said that he had been released from the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley on Nov. 1, 2013, after serving a seven-year sentence on charges including cocaine trafficking, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer and two counts of resisting arrest.

Since getting out of prison, Zambrano had been arrested multiple times and had court cases pending on charges including assault and battery, trespassing, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Just last week, Zambrano was arrested by a state trooper while he was driving an SUV with a license plate not registered to that vehicle. During the May 16 stop, the trooper arrested Zambrano without incident. He was charged with attaching plates, operating with a revoked license and operating an unregistered motor vehicle.

State police said Zambrano was driving that same vehicle with the same license plate when Officer Tarentino stopped him.

A wake will be held for the fallen officer on Thursday at St. Joseph’s Church in Charlton. The funeral will be held on Friday at the church followed by burial at Greenville Baptist Church Cemetery in the Rochdale section of Leicester.