Shootout In Shirley

NOVEMBER 2002
- Police Buddies Shot 8 Years Apart - On the night of April 2, 1994, member Jim Mickel, then a Shirley
Police Sergeant, was gunned down by escaped murderer Robert Stewart
during a routine traffic stop.Lying
on the ground, a .357 magnum slug having ripped through his sternum and
punctured a lung, Mickel managed to call the station with his hand
radio giving a description of the vehicle, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which
sped off.

The first officer to reach
Mickel was his buddy, patrolman Dale Prentiss. Thanks to Mickel's
description, Stewart was spotted and he died during a high speed chase
when his stolen Cherokee crashed into a tree.

Fast
forward to 2002: On the night of August 27, the same Dale Prentiss, now
a sergeant, who saw his friend Jim Mickel almost die in 1994, responded
to a 911 call of a rape attempt. The call was from a woman in the house
of Henry Favreau. A lifelong resident of the small town in central
Massachusetts, Favreau, 37, knew Prentiss.

As
the officer approached the house, Favreau suddenly drew a .44 magnum,
fired twice and struck Prentiss in the stomach. Witnesses said Prentiss
took cover behind a neighbor's parked car and returned fire, squeezing
off five rounds from his service pistol, two of which hit Favreau.

A
911 call made by a neighbor sent Prentiss to the UMass Medical Center
in critical condition. The bullet was removed during a successful
operation and the courageous officer, age 44, is now recovering.
Ironically this was the same hospital where Mickel's life was saved in
1994.

Favreau, the alleged
assailant, was sent to a Boston hospital and later transferred to a
secure unit at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital.

Fifteen-year
Shirley Selectman Kyle Keady, who is friends with both officers said
that his town is a "tight-knit community where everyone becomes part of
a family when trouble strikes. People in this community pulled together
in 1994 when Jim was shot and are now pulling together behind Dale.
Both Jim and Dale are men of which our town is very proud."

In
the case of Mickel, who was forced to retire, the bullet shattered upon
impact and he still has pieces within his body which cause him pain. He
praised Jim Fahey and the Middlesex County Retirement Board for their
assistance in expediting his case.

Mickel
was awarded the Commonwealth's prestigious George Hanna award, named
after a state police officer killed in the line of duty.

It
would seem that Dale Prentiss could be in line for the same award. But,
like Jim Mickel, he's not looking for an award. He considers himself to
be just a cop doing his job. What a job!

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