A woman who served as the head nurse for a local school district was shot and killed Wednesday outside her home in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Laurie Melchionda, the director of health services for Weston Public Schools and previously a longtime nurse in Braintree, was fatally shot in front of her home on Howie Road in broad daylight.
A former neighbor, Robert Bonang, of Marshfield, was arrested on murder charges, authorities said.
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Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey said Bonang had lived in the neighborhood for many years but hadn't lived there for about six years. He said police had responded to "a number of general neighborhood complaints" involving him in the past, one of which he said might have been for a domestic incident.
"He was very to himself," said the Bonang's current neighbor, Stephen Berry. "Didn't talk to anybody, barely said 'hi.'"
"That's very scary," said Steve, another current neighbor who didn't want to give his last name. "The thought that there's someone here with weapons that is violent that is living literally in the same building as me, it's kind of unnerving."
Police responded to 64 Howie Road at noon and found Melchionda in the entryway to her home suffering from apparent gunshot wounds, Morrissey said. She was taken to South Shore Hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.
Morrissey said investigators believe this was a "targeted event" and not a random act.
"This is not something the neighbors should have to worry about," he said.
Melchionda was well known in Braintree, where she was a member of the town's Board of Health.
"She's extremely well thought of in town," Morrissey said.
"I was the kind of student where I was at the nurse every single day," said former Braintree student Abby Smith. "I struggled with anxiety … she talked me through it every single day, stayed by my side the whole time. She was like a motherly figure to everyone. Everyone loved her."
She also served as the director of health services for Weston Public Schools. According to a 2018 Wicked Local story, she worked in the Braintree school system for over 20 years before being hired in Weston. She was also a former staff nurse at Boston Children's Hospital.
"It is with deepest grief that I share with you that Weston’s Director of Health Services and Field School Nurse, Laurie Melchionda, was tragically shot and killed outside her Braintree home this morning," Weston School Superintendent Midge Connolly said in a statement Wednesday on the district's website. "We are reeling from this shocking and devastating news. Please join me in extending our heartfelt sympathies to Laurie’s family."
"With over thirty years of experience in nursing, Laurie was hired as Director of Health Services for the Weston Public Schools in 2018. In her two years at Weston, she made a tremendous impact in supporting the health and well-being of all of our students, working closely with her nursing staff, educators, families, service providers, and town leaders," Connolly added. "Most recently, Laurie was the primary liaison between the schools and the Weston Board of Health throughout the COVID-19 crisis and was instrumental in guiding and supporting the school and the town. We are suffering a tremendous loss. Laurie brought professionalism, expertise, warmth, and caring to our school community every day. We will be spending many difficult moments grieving her loss."
The superintendent said counselors will be available in the coming days to assist students and staff in the wake of Melchionda's death.
Bonang is expected to be arraigned Thursday on murder charges. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.