Diocese mourns the loss of fallen Yarmouth police sergeant


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YARMOUTH, Mass. — Friends, relatives and colleagues of Sean McNamee Gannon are mourning the loss of the beloved K-9 sergeant, who was tragically killed in the line of duty on April 12, 2018.

The 2003 graduate of Bishop Stang High School was honored during the weekly school Mass on Friday, April 13, which was celebrated by Father Riley Williams, parochial administrator of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet, who was a classmate of Gannon’s in high school.

During the sometimes emotional Liturgy, Father Williams asked for a moment of silence for Sgt. Gannon and dedicated the Mass to the repose of his soul and prayed for his family during this difficult time.

“I got to know Sean while we were classmates at Bishop Stang,” Father Williams recently told The Anchor. “While he was always great to get along with and fun to be around, there was also a seriousness and dedication of purpose when it came to the things that mattered. He always knew what his values were and lived by them.”

Although their lives had taken different paths in subsequent years, Father Williams said he caught up with Sgt. Gannon a couple of years ago on Cape Cod.

“His life had really taken off: at the time he was getting ready to be married, was looking at getting a house down Cape, and drew great purpose and satisfaction from his work as a police officer,” Father Williams said. “He had already accomplished so much in life — it’s just so sad to think of what a great person we’ve lost.”

In fact, Sgt. Gannon’s entire family attended Bishop Stang High School, which posted the following tribute on the school’s Facebook page upon learning of his passing: “The Bishop Stang family mourns the loss of alumni Sean Gannon ’03, a Yarmouth Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty. Our hearts and our prayers go out to Sean’s wife Dara, father Patrick ’74, mother Denise (Morency) ’70, brother Timothy ’05, and sister Martha ’08. Sean’s service and sacrifice will always be remembered at Bishop Stang High School. May he rest in peace.”

Bishop Stang High School principal Peter Shaughnessy said Sgt. Gannon’s “service and sacrifice is just a great exemplification of our mission as a school” and he hopes everyone will “remember his life and service and sacrifice.”

Sgt. Sean M. Gannon of the Yarmouth Police Department, age 32, died on impact in the line of duty from a gunshot wound to the head on April 12.

Born Aug. 22, 1985 in New Bedford, he graduated from All Saints Elementary School in 1999 and Bishop Stang High School in 2003. Gannon graduated with honors from Westfield State University in 2007 with a bachelor of science in Criminal Justice, a master’s with honors from Massachusetts Maritime Academy with a degree in Emergency Management in 2011, and the MBTA Municipal Police Academy.

Sgt. Gannon’s internships included Nantucket Police, Westfield Police, and earned certifications as an EMT and Life Saving Instructor.

Sgt. Gannon started his career at Stonehill College in 2007 as a member of the Campus Police before joining the Yarmouth Police Department in 2010. Gannon was part of the Emergency Management Unit, a part-time member of the Proactive Anti-Crime Team, and he was the first K-9 narcotics officer for the Yarmouth Police Department. After retiring the K-9 narcotics officer, Gannon acquired the patrol dog, Nero, who was also injured at the scene of the crime.

He leaves a legacy of high moral integrity, infectious humor, and collaborative work with colleagues. He enjoyed travel, working with his hands, donating his time to Big Brother/Big Sister and being outside. He loved spending time with his family and friends. Sean was deeply intuitive and inspired others to be their best selves.

Sean leaves his wife, Dara (Bryan); his parents, Patrick and Denise; his siblings, Timothy and his fiance Mary, Martha and her husband Derrick; his in-laws Kathy and Dean Bryan, and their son Ross; along with many relatives and friends.

Sgt. Gannon was the grandson of the late Deacon Marcel Morency, who served at the former St. Anne’s Church in New Bedford.

Father Paul Caron, pastor of St. Pius X Parish in South Yarmouth, said he knew Sgt. Gannon long before he was assigned to the Cape Cod parish last year, and that the police officer and his family are well-known throughout the Fall River Diocese.

“When he was in college, he was a summer special, as they call them, that was working on Nantucket when I was pastor there,” Father Caron told The Anchor. “I already knew him, but it was fun to have him there because he would stop by the rectory. Before that, he was an altar server for me at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet, when I was there, and his mother Denise was my organist. They were living in New Bedford, but when she became organist for me, the family just decided they were going to (attend Mass) there instead of St. Mary’s. But the kids stayed at All Saints Elementary School.”

Having been married at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville, Father Caron said he was happy that Sgt. Gannon had registered at St. Pius X Parish. During the homily he delivered during the funeral Mass, Father Caron recalled how shortly after arriving at the parish last summer, Sgt. Gannon was among the first to pay him a visit to welcome him to South Yarmouth.

“The family has been just so dedicated in this diocese in so many ways,” Father Caron said. “It’s not gussied up — he really was one of the nicest guys you’d ever want to meet. He will be missed.”

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., of the Fall River Diocese issued the following statement following the fatal shooting of Sgt. Gannon:

“Like so many, I am stunned and deeply saddened by the tragic death of Yarmouth Police Sergeant Sean Gannon. I think it makes all of us pause to consider the dangers inherent in the daily work of those in law enforcement and public safety.

“I ask members of the Catholic community across the Fall River Diocese to pray with me for the peaceful repose of Sgt. Gannon and for strength and comfort for his family in their heartbreaking loss. I extend my personal condolences to them. Sgt. Gannon’s mother and father, Denise and Patrick Gannon, are known to many throughout the diocese from their longtime service as pastoral musicians. I hope that they find some solace in knowing that their many friends among our priests and lay faithful share their sorrow and embrace them in thought and prayer.

“It is important also to keep in mind members of the Yarmouth Police Department who are grieving the violent loss of a colleague. They have our prayerful support at this difficult time and an assurance of our continued gratitude for their dedicated service.”

A Mass of Christian Burial was held at 11 a.m. at St. Pius X Church, 5 Barbara Street in South Yarmouth on April 18. Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., was principal celebrant. Burial was held privately.

The family deeply appreciates the incredible outpouring of local and national messages of support and condolences. The family particularly wishes to recognize the outstanding presence of the Yarmouth Police Department during this difficult ordeal. 

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to Yarmouth Police Foundation or The Cape Cod Foundation.

To leave an online condolence, please visit www.doanebealames.com.

 

© 2018 The Anchor and Anchor Publishing   †   Fall River, Massachusetts