TO PROTECT AND SERVE: Malden Mayor Gary Christenson, at left, honors O’Brien with a citation for his invaluable role in the arrest of an armed robbery suspect. At right, Malden Police Chief Kevin Molis
It started as an ordinary Sunday morning. Tom O’Brien left his Malden home just before 7 am to get his wife a cup of coffee before heading to the MGH for work. But within minutes his day changed drastically, as he helped local police bring an alleged armed bank robber into custody.
“I was driving by an ATM machine, and I noticed a man who looked similar to the photos that had just been put out describing the suspect,” O’Brien says. “I noticed that this man had the same physical description and what looked liked the same clothing.”
O’Brien, who has worked as an officer in the MGH Police and Security Department for 18 years, says he called 911 and then decided to stay in the vicinity to speak with the Malden Police officer once he arrived at the scene. “I drove around the block, and when I returned I saw the officer had the suspect down on the ground at gunpoint,” O’Brien says. “I showed the officer my ID badge from the car and asked if he needed assistance.”
The suspect, who police say was armed at the time of his arrest, attempted to flee from the scene. O’Brien aided the officer during the struggle, and they restrained the suspect until backup arrived. “This was really just a case of being at the right place at the right time,” O’Brien says. “I luckily knew enough to keep an eye on the situation and when he started to run off, I had the training – thanks to my department here at the MGH – so I was able to assist and help the officer.”
As a token of the city’s gratitude for his brave response, O’Brien was honored at the June 18 Malden City Council meeting with a letter of commendation noting his “keen observations and timely assistance were vital to this arrest.” During the meeting, O’Brien also received a $1,000 check from Bank of America, which he donated to Malden Housing Families Inc. Earlier this week, O’Brien also met with the city’s mayor who presented him with a special citation commending his efforts. “They both were really very nice gestures,” O’Brien says.
The MGH has also expressed its appreciation for O’Brien’s dedication to public safety both at home and at work. “Tom is a great employee who works hard to make people safe at the MGH,” says John Driscoll, assistant director of MGH Police and Security. “So it doesn’t surprise me that Tom is a good citizen at home. He embraces his role of protector and has made us all proud.”
Read more articles from the 06/28/13 Hotline issue.