Brother: Slain cop a working hero
Recalls victim’s sense of duty
The heartbroken brother of slain Woburn patrolman John “Jack” Maguire told the Herald yesterday that even after his only sibling suffered a heart attack and had two stents implanted a year before he was shot to death, there was no stopping the dedicated lawman.
“He just wanted to get back to work,” said Charles “Chuck” Maguire, 63. “That was the argument we always had. I’d say, ‘Jack, why are you working nights? It’s not natural. It’s not healthy.’
“I think (work) was almost a hobby to him,” Maguire, who retired three years ago as an assistant chief probation officer, said with a bittersweet smile. “Jack worked. The odds of him getting into trouble were great.”
Still, he said, “Nobody ever thinks about not coming back. He was my brother, and I wish it had been me doing battle with the guy.”
Responding to an armed diamond heist just as the Blizzard of 2010 was nearing peak intensity, officer Maguire, 60, a married father of three who recently put in papers to retire, was shot to death Dec. 26 by Dominic Cinelli in the parking lot of Kohl’s department store off Interstate 95.
Cinelli was a violent career con who was sprung from prison by the state Parole Board in 2009 despite serving three life sentences. The board’s unanimous decision has sparked a post-mortem firestorm of controversy and a demand for explanation by outraged law-enforcement officials and legislators.
Cinelli, 57, of Woburn, who investigators said threatened Kohl’s employees with a handgun while a lookout and a getaway driver waited outside, was killed when officer Maguire — dogged even in the throes of death — returned fire.
Maguire said the Kohl’s employees whose lives Cinelli spared were among the thousands who paid their respects to his brother between Thursday’s wake and Friday’s funeral at the Shriners Auditorium — an endurance test he described as “emotionally draining.”
Maguire said he was so overwhelmed by the private citizens who lined the procession route to salute his brother’s casket that he couldn’t bear to make eye contact with any of them: “I held my emotions until I saw all that.”
His brother’s last act of heroism occurred only a mile from Charles Maguire’s Reading home and, tragically, impeded his ability to reach Lahey hospital in time to say goodbye.
“By the time I got there, it was too late,” Maguire said. “I heard somebody say, ‘He just coded.’ ”
Maguire said his brother, who gave 34 years of his life to the Woburn Police Department and was scheduled to switch to a day shift this week, spent Christmas Day at his house.
“We had a great time at Christmas. I gave him a card with the Mass. Retirees sticker and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association sticker for when he went to Maine (after retiring) to put on his car so he might not get a ticket. I think he gave me a Dunkin’ Donuts card,” Maguire said, laughing.
The last thing he remembers his brother saying to him was, “I’m finally going on days, Chuck.”
Officer Maguire and the man who murdered him were both sons of cops whose lives were on diverging paths until one’s call to duty answered a final call for help.
The Maguires’ late father, Thomas J. Maguire Jr., was a onetime chief of police in Woburn.
“The family car was a police car — Car 25,” Maguire wistfully recalled. “We’d go out for ice cream at night. We’d go to all the fires with our dad.”
His brother, he said, never spoke an unkind word about the criminal element which, more often than not, called him away from the family dinner table on holidays. “He didn’t arrest many people. You had to be a real fresh guy to get arrested.”