The tranquility of a typical mid-afternoon summer Saturday in Winthrop was shattered within a matter of 20 minutes when a 28 year-old local resident, reportedly wielding two handguns, shot two Black persons on Shirley Street.
The shooter, Nathan Allen, began his rampage when he stole a large box truck at approximately 2:30 p.m., from an industrial yard on the outskirts of town at the edge of the Belle Isle Marsh on Argyle Street.
Allen turned right onto Revere St. and then made a left onto Shirley St. As Allen sped along Shirley St., investigators believe he crashed head-on into an SUV with three female passengers near the intersection of Cross St.
The force of the impact sent the SUV crashing into the front stairs of a nearby home on Shirley St., while Allen’s box truck careened into a small home on the opposite side of Shirley St. at the corner of Cross St., all but demolishing that structure.
Allen emerged from the truck unscathed and proceeded, reportedly in his bare feet, along Shirley St., at one point jumping into the back seat of another vehicle in an apparent carjacking attempt.
However, when the operator of that vehicle told Allen to leave his car, Allen did so and took off on foot once again on Shirley Street in the direction of Winthrop Beach.
Within moments, Allen encountered his first victim, 60-year-old Ramona Cooper, an Air Force veteran who had lived in her Shore Drive condominium for about a year, shooting her a reported three times in the back.
As this scene was unfolding, lifelong and well-known Winthrop resident David Green, a 68-year-old Vietnam-era Air Force veteran who had retired from the State Police in 2016 after a long and distinguished career, was heading in the direction of the crash scene with a neighbor from their homes on Beach Rd., where they had been conversing in their front yards, after they had heard the loud impact from the crashes.
Upon hearing the gunfire that felled Cooper, Green directed his neighbor to duck into an alleyway between two commercial buildings at the intersection of Shirley St. and Veterans Rd. It is believed that Green may have confronted the gunman, leading him away from his neighbor and other area residents who also had come outside after hearing the crash.
The gunman then shot Green seven times.
Within moments, a Winthrop police sergeant (who has not officially been identified, though has been reported to be Sgt. Nicholas Bettano) had arrived on the scene and confronted Allen. After ordering Allen to drop his weapon, a directive that Allen refused to obey, the sergeant fired at Allen, striking him three times.
The incident has all the markings of a hate crime. Although nothing in Allen’s social media pages indicate any affiliation with hate groups, the district attorney’s office found evidence of Nazi insignias and other hate-speech in notebooks that Allen had kept.
In addition, Allen did not fire his weapon at the numerous white persons he encountered while traversing along the quarter-mile stretch from the crash scene to where he himself eventually was shot near Veterans Rd., shooting only his two Black victims with numerous rounds.
Suffolk County District Atty. Rachael Rollins said in a news release that authorities had “unearthed troubling white supremacy rhetoric and statements written by the shooter,” including a statement about the “superiority of the white race” and whites being “apex predators.” Rollins added that Allen drew swastikas and characterized the cold-blooded murders as “executions.”
Authorities still are investigating how and why Allen stole a box truck from the Argyle St. comercial yard. According to Winthrop town records, Allen’s wife (who has been identified in other media outlets, but whose name and address we are not publishing) purchased a condo at Governor’s Park, which is located a short distance from the Argyle St. commercial complex, in the fall of 2019, shortly before she and Allen were married in the summer of 2020, an event that was highlighted in a Boston Globe column at the time.
Authorities have not released Allen’s toxicology reports or information about the type of handgun he used. Allen had a license to carry, but it has not been revealed where or why he initially obtained that license and when and where it was renewed.
There also are reports that authorities found a backpack, with Allen’s identifying information, which contained ammunition clips near his residence.
According to social media posts, Allen graduated from Wareham High School in 2010 and from UMass Dartmouth in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. He also was a graduate of the MGH Institute of Health Professions in January and described himself as a physical therapist intern.
His profile also listed him as a paraprofessional for a brief time at Wareham Middle School in 2015 and as a caregiver at s senior care facility in North Dartmouth for nine months in 2016. He said he previously worked as a laboratory technician in Rhode Island and a chemical stockroom associate at Brown University, as well as a sales associate for TJ Maxx and a truck driver.
According to the DA’s office, Allen had no previous criminal history.