CHARLTON >> Police from New England and around the country marched in solemn formation to a church in a small Massachusetts community Thursday, as a wake was held for an officer who was fatally shot during a traffic stop.
In all, thousands of people paid their respects to Auburn Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr., the 42-year-old son of a police officer who left a wife and three children.
"Just really special people," Republican Gov. Charlie Baker said of Tarentino's family after meeting with them at St. Joseph Catholic Church in nearby Charlton. "And handling what really has to be a catastrophe with just an incredible amount of grace."
A funeral Mass is planned for Friday at the church, followed by burial at Greenville Baptist Church Cemetery in Tarentino's hometown of Leicester.
The officer was shot in the back by Jorge Zambrano during a traffic stop early Sunday, authorities said. Zambrano was later killed after he fired at police from a bedroom closet inside a duplex apartment, injuring a state trooper, state officials said.
Zambrano had a long criminal history, and some have criticized the judicial system for allowing him to be free after a string of recent arrests and repeated probation violations.
Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey said in a statement Wednesday that court officials are reviewing all Zambrano's interactions with the court system, including the probation department. Carey said a preliminary review shows no violation of court rules, laws or procedures. She said a thorough review of Zambrano's court cases is a "major priority" for the Trial Court.
Among those attending the wake were childhood friends like Billy Flynn, who attended Tewksbury Memorial High School with Tarentino and had kept in touch with his old friend over the years.
"Not that this should have happened to anybody, but Ron was the last guy this should have happened to," Flynn told the Telegram and Gazette of Worcester.