hate crime

‘Hate in This Man's Heart': What We Know About the Winthrop Gunman

Two people who said they came face-to-face with the gunman on Saturday and were not shot described him looking right at them

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The man who killed two Black people in Winthrop, Massachusetts, in a brief shooting rampage "had very disturbing beliefs," Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said Monday, reiterating her belief that the attack was motivated by bigotry.

The shooting is being investigated as a hate crime, and more details are coming to light about his background, including that he received a degree in physical therapy earlier this year. Investigators said they could release some of his hateful writings as early as Monday night or Tuesday.

"I am confident in saying there was hate in this man's heart," Rollins said at a news conference at the Winthrop Town Hall.

Gov. Charlie Baker called the shooting rampage in Winthrop, Massachusetts, "despicable," and it's being investigated as a hate crime.

Nathan Allen, 28, crashed a stolen plumbing company truck into a building, flattening it, then got out and shot two people down the street, authorities have said. Both were Black -- they were a retired state police trooper and an Air Force veteran -- while he opted not to shoot other people who aren't Black.

Survivors Recall Winthrop Shooting

Two people who said they came face-to-face with the gunman on Saturday and were not shot described him looking right at them.

"The shooter was standing right beside me, with his gun on his side. We stared at each other and I shut my eyes because I didn't want to see ... the bullet coming," Bill Leach said.

A grainy image of the shooter shared by Melissa Gratta shows him a block from the scene of the truck crash holding what appears to be a pistol in his hand.

"He looked right at us and he didn't shoot," she said, adding that he easily could have.

PHOTOS: Police, Rescue Response to Winthrop Shooting

Witnesses said the gunman drove the large box truck from a lot near where he crashed it. Surveillance footage showed it driving down the wrong way down Shirley Street.

As the hate crime investigation unfolds, it was not lost on the survivors of the shooting what may have saved their lives.

"I am really grateful to be standing here right now because he was this close to me, this close," Gratta said.

What's Known of the Gunman's Beliefs

Investigators have found that the gunman had used "some troubling white supremacist rhetoric" that targeted Black and Jewish people.

Rollins elaborated on that at Monday's news conference, saying that investigators have reviewed a notebook of the gunman's, in which he'd recently written hateful comments.

He is believed to have acted alone, Rollins said, though the attack is a stark reminder that hateful beliefs thrive in Massachusetts.

Investigators have found the gunman who killed two people Saturday in Winthrop, Massachusetts, had made "some troubling white supremacist rhetoric" that targeted Black and Jewish people, and both his victims were Black, officials said Sunday.

"When he became radicalized or when he started believing these things, we are not certain yet, but when as we learn more, we promise we will tell you more," she said.

Rollins also said she aims to provide tools for people to how they can find help when they see a loved one becoming radicalized.

"You can love someone and not agree with what they're doing, and where do you go to report those types of things?" she said.

Watch Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins' news conference identifying the victims and gunman in the deadly Winthrop, Massachusetts, shooting, which she said may have been motivated by the white supremacy.

Rollins on Sunday said the gunman was driving the stolen truck at twice the speed limit before he crashed it, and speculated that he may have been trying to reach Jewish temples in the area.

She had no knowledge of the gunman before the attack. He had a license to carry firearms, which means he'd passed a background check, she said at the time.

The shooter received a doctorate in physical therapy in January, the MGH Institute of Health Professions confirmed Monday. He'd started attending the school, a graduate school for health professions, in 2017.

"The MGH Institute is committed to social justice and addressing the challenges of systemic racism. We believe in the value each member brings to our community, and we aspire to create a world where these hateful events will no longer happen," the school said in a statement.

How Winthrop Is Responding

A candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting is planned for victims of the shooting this Thursday evening outside the town hall.

"We have been devastated by the events that happened in Winthrop on Saturday," Town Council President Phil Boncore said at the news conference Monday, stressing how citizens came together to support each other in the 24 hours after the rampage.

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A makeshift memorial has popped up at the location where David Green was shot and killed on Saturday.

Police Chief Terence Delehanty stressed that the gunman's "strange ideology" does not represent Winthrop, and noted that it was traumatic both for people "who live on the route of destruction" the shooter took, as well as the first responders who went to the scene.

"We have a plan to respond to those devastations and trauma that have been induced by this hateful act by this one individual," he said.

A crisis intervention team will be knocking on doors in the neighborhood Tuesday to check in on residents, and a meeting is planned for Wednesday where people can drop in to ask questions.

Gov. Charlie Baker tweeted Monday about the "despicable act" committed against "two cherished public servants who proved their mettle time and time again." Delehanty said Baker had also called him to offer his support.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said tweeted Monday that She added that "Any possible white supremacist motivations for these killings need to be addressed, as well as those who knew or enabled those motivations."

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