30 years later, Boston Police remember officer slain during attempted escape by prisoner
Boston Police are remembering Officer Thomas F. Rose, 30 years after he was shot and killed in the line of duty by a prisoner.
Rose was slain on Feb. 19, 1993 when prisoner Terrell Muhammad attempted to escape while being allowed to make a phone call in the booking area of the police district in downtown Boston, District A-1, police said.
Once outside his cell, Muhammad lunged for Rose’s service weapon, and as the two wrestled for control of the firearm, Muhammad discharged several rounds, two of which struck the 42-year-old Rose, killing him.
Muhammad was later convicted in the killing of Rose; however, Rose’s family has seen him walk out of prison twice in two different states.
“All the evidence is there, somebody killed a cop. He’s going to jail forever and it just didn’t happen that way,” Kelly Gillis, Rose’s daughter, told Boston 25 in 2018.
“It just makes you sick,” Gillis said at the time. “You can’t sleep, you’re like what the --? Here we go again.”
Muhammad was already a convicted killer when he crossed paths with Rose in 1993. Muhammad had served time for manslaughter in the 1986 shooting death of Dorchester clerk Angela Skeete. He was sentenced 6-10 years in that case.
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In February 1993, Muhammad was arrested again, suspected of theft. When he attempted to escape from the Government Center station, there was a struggle. Rose was shot twice and killed with his own service weapon.
The following year, Muhammad received 26-30 years in prison for manslaughter. He was released in 2009 after serving only 15 years.
A Massachusetts Department of Correction spokesperson said Muhammad benefited from an outdated-law known as “statutory good time,” which was eliminated in 1994 with the Truth in Sentencing Law. Truth in Sentencing was designed to give judges more control over how long inmates served behind bars and impose mandatory-minimum sentences.
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When he was killed, Rose had been with the department for 13 years. He left behind three children and a granddaughter.
In June of 1998, Rose’s son, Thomas, followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Boston Police Department.
An estimated 5,000 law enforcement officers from around the region attended Rose’s funeral in St. Ann’s Church in Dorchester three decades ago. He was later laid to rest at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester.
A Hero Sign has been placed in his honor outside of the District A-1 Station located at 40 Sudbury St. in Boston.
Officer Rose’s name is listed on the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington D.C. His name can also be found on the Hero Wall at Boston Police Headquarters and the Massachusetts State Law Enforcement Memorial located on the lawn of the State House in Boston.
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