Officer who died year after Boston Marathon shootout honored

By BOB SALSBERG | October 18, 2015 | 5:25 AM EDT

BOSTON (AP) — The name of a police officer who suffered a fatal brain aneurysm a year after being wounded during a confrontation with the Boston Marathon bombers was added Friday to a memorial honoring Massachusetts law enforcement officers.

Dennis Simmonds, a Boston patrolman, was among the officers who engaged Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in a shootout in Watertown on April 19, 2013, days after two bombs exploded at the marathon finish line. Officials said Simmonds sustained a head injury when he was struck by shrapnel from an explosive device the suspects detonated.

On April 10, 2014, Simmonds, 28, collapsed while working out at the Boston Police Academy gym and died at a hospital.

The addition of Simmonds' name to the more than 350 on the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial outside the Statehouse appeared to be the strongest acknowledgment yet that his death was linked to the marathon attack and its aftermath.

"A young kid like that doesn't just die ... without something causing that," Police Commissioner William Evans said after Friday's ceremony. "There has to be a nexus to it."

The shootout with the Tsarnaev brothers occurred hours after Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier was shot and killed in Cambridge. Collier's name had previously been added to the police memorial.

Three spectators died in the April 15, 2013 bombing and more than 260 people were injured.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in the shootout with police. Dhzokar was captured hiding in a boat in Watertown and was convicted earlier this year and sentenced to death by a federal jury.

In May, the state retirement board awarded Simmonds' family a $150,000 line-of-duty benefit after a medical panel ruled that the aneurysm was probably related to the injuries from the confrontation with the bombers.

"He was a hero in the marathon bombing shootout, and it's a tragedy that he died shortly after that," Evans said. "And it's nice to recognize him, put his name on the wall so generations to come will always remember Dennis and his family. And that's what it's all about."

Gregg Maloney, a Plymouth police officer who died last year in a motorcycle crash while on patrol, was also honored at the ceremony attended by police officers from around the state.

Also added to the memorial were seven officers whose line-of-duty deaths were uncovered through research. They included Billerica officer Cassius White, who was killed by a drunken driver in 1936; Salisbury patrolman Willie Heath, who was fatally shot while responding to a post office robbery in 1913; and Lynn Lt. Nelson Doe, who was attacked by a rabid dog while walking his beat in 1896.