Funeral arrangements have been announced for Boston police officer John O'Keefe, who died after being found outside in the snow near a Canton home on Saturday during the blizzard. He was 46.
O'Keefe's girlfriend, Karen Read has been charged with vehicular homicide and manslaughter in connection with his death. She has pleaded not guilty and her attorney is fighting the charges against her.
Relatives and friends are invited to visiting hours on Sunday, February 6, from 3 to 7 p.m. at the St. Francis of Assisi Church at 850 Washington St. in Braintree.
The funeral will be on Monday at 11 a.m., also at the St. Francis of Assisi Church.
Family, colleagues mourn O'Keefe's loss
O'Keefe's family released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying they are heartbroken over his death.
"John was not only a dedicated police officer, he was an exemplary guardian, son, brother, uncle and friend and we were so fortunate to have him as a part of our lives," it said. "When John’s sister passed away, and then her husband did as well a short time later, John welcomed the opportunity to raise his beloved niece and nephew and build a home and a life around their needs. People talk about someone who would give you the shirt off their back but that was truly who John was, and it is heartbreaking for us to suddenly be talking about him in the past tense."
The family added that they appreciate the outpouring of support they have received but asked for privacy as they mourn their loss.
The Boston Police Department released a statement Sunday, saying it is with "deep regret" that they announced the death of O'Keefe, an active-duty officer and 16-year department veteran.
"John was a kind person, dedicated to his family, and will be greatly missed by his coworkers and anyone who had the privilege of meeting him. Today, the Massachusetts State Police and the Norfolk County District Attorney‘s Office arrested the person responsible for John’s death," the Boston Police Department said in a statement Tuesday night. "At this time, we are stunned and saddened and offer whatever support we can to John’s family. Boston Police Peer Support will be available to assist department members in need of emotional support."
Here's everything we know about the case so far:
What were Read and O'Keefe doing in the hours before his death?
Read and O'Keefe had been drinking at C.F. McCarthy's in Canton with friends, according to prosecutors. They then went to the Waterfall Bar & Grille across the street around 11 p.m., where they stayed for about an hour.
They left there and were invited to a party at a home on Fairview Road. Read told police she dropped O'Keefe off at the house shortly after midnight and went home because she was having stomach issues.
She later returned to the home with two friends several hours later after she was unable to get O'Keefe to respond to her calls and texts.
One of the friends told police Read called her at 5 a.m. and said, "John's dead, I wonder if he's dead. It's snowing, he got hit by a plow."
How did O'Keefe die?
In court Wednesday, prosecutors said O'Keefe was found outside the home in the snow by Read and two friends around 6 a.m. Saturday. He had bloody lacerations on his right arm, his eyes were swollen shut and his clothing was saturated with blood and vomit.
"The victim was cold to touch, with no signs of breath," Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Adam Lally said.
O'Keefe appeared to have been in the cold for some period of time before his body was discovered. He was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy was conducted Monday. The results of that autopsy were not immediately released, but prosecutors said in court Wednesday that the medical examiner found several abrasions to O'Keefe's right forearm, two black eyes, a cut to his nose, a two inch laceration to the back of his head, and multiple skull fractures. Hypothermia is also believed to be a contributing factor in his death.
According to prosecutors, Read told a Canton firefighter at the scene, "I hit him, I hit him, I hit him, I hit him."
Prosecutors said Read's vehicle was later located at her parents' house and has been seized. The 2021 black Lexus SUV had a shattered right rear taillight and several scratches on its rear bumper.
Who was hosting the party where the incident occurred?
O'Keefe knew the people who lived inside the house where he was found, prosecutors said. Property records show the home on Fairview Road is owned by someone who has the exact same name and middle initial as a veteran Boston police sergeant, though the Boston Police Department would not confirm that.
A Boston Police Department spokesperson told NBC10 Boston that no internal affairs cases have been opened and no one has been placed on administrative leave.
What do we know about Read?
Read has worked at Fidelity Investments since 2007 as an equity analyst.
"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Officer O'Keefe and the law enforcement community," the company said in a statement. "Ms. Read is now on leave. As this is an ongoing investigation, it would not be appropriate for us to comment further."
Read is also an adjunct lecturer at Bentley University, the school confirmed Wednesday.
"The university cannot comment further on an active investigation. Our thoughts go out to Officer O'Keefe's family and loved ones," Bentley University said in a statement.
MMore on Officer O'Keefe's death
What happens next?
Read pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday morning in Stoughton District Court and posted bail before noon. She has been ordered not to drive unless licensed to do so by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
She is due in court for a probable cause hearing on March 1.