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Murders investigated as hate crime

Boston man shot two dead in Winthrop

Yawu Miller
Yawu Miller is the former senior editor of the Bay State Banner. He has written for the Banner since 1988.... VIEW BIO
Murders investigated as hate crime
Air Force veteran Ramona Cooper and former state trooper David Green.

In what may be the first racially motivated murder in the Greater Boston area in decades, a Boston man gunned down a Black man and a Black woman in Winthrop before a police officer there shot and killed him.

The gunman, Nathan Allen, 28, shot and killed Air Force veteran Ramona Cooper, 60, and former state trooper David Green, 68, after crashing a stolen box truck into a house on a residential side street in the town.

Investigators said Allen had racist and antisemitic writings at his home and may have been looking to target a synagogue in Winthrop.

“There is a growing national, and global, problem with extremism and white supremacy,” Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement sent to news media Sunday. “The FBI believes the most serious domestic violent extremist threat comes from ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race.’”

Rollins said materials recovered by law enforcement found that Allen, a physical therapist, wrote about the superiority of the “white race” and saw whites as “apex predators.”

Winthrop police responded after Allen crashed the stolen truck into a one-story home. Allen reportedly climbed out of the window of the truck’s cab and walked away from the wreckage, armed with two handguns. He passed several white people before encountering Cooper and Green. A Winthrop Police sergeant commanded Allen to drop his gun before opening fire and killing Allen.

Allen’s Facebook page, which was still active Tuesday morning, showed him graduating from MGH Institute of Health Professions in January. He was married and worked as a physical therapist.

While Blacks, Latinos, Asians and Jews have been killed in hate crimes across the country in increasing numbers in recent years, there has not been a racially motivated killing in the Greater Boston area in recent decades.

In 2019, there were 51 hate-motivated murders across the country, including a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso Texas targeting Mexican Americans that resulted in 22 deaths — the deadliest hate crime in recent U.S. history. Black people were targeted in non-lethal hate crimes more than any other group that year, accounting for 48% of victims of such incidents, according to FBI statistics.

A 2018 shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh resulted in 11 dead and six wounded — the deadliest attack on a Jewish community in the United States.

Hate crimes against all groups have increased year-over-year since 2014, a rise civil rights groups attribute to increased racist and antisemitic rhetoric. In Massachusetts, there were 376 hate crimes reported during 2019, up from 351 in 2018, but lower than the 429 incidents reported in 2017.

Since 2003, anti-Black bias has consistently been the largest category of such crimes, at 29%. Anti-gay bias accounted for 17% of such crimes. Antisemitic bias accounted for 15%.

boston, hate crime, Winthrop