June 27 (UPI) -- Authorities in Massachusetts said they are investigating the shooting deaths of two Black people in the city of Winthrop over the weekend as a hate crime.
On Sunday, Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins told reporters during a press conference that police fatally shot 28-year-old Nathan Allen on Saturday after he shot and killed Ramona Cooper, 60, and David Green, 58, upon exiting a stolen truck that he had crashed into a residence.
Rollins described the deaths of Cooper and Green as executions, stating Cooper, a former staff sergeant of the U.S. Air Force, was shot three times in the back while Green, a retired Massachusetts State trooper, was shot four times in the head and three in the torso.
"This is a sad day," she said. "These two people protected our rights. They fought for us to be safe and to have the opinions that we have and they were executed yesterday and we will find out why and find out more about the man who did this."
Police were called to the scene Saturday at 2:41 p.m. after receiving reports of a large truck stolen from a plumbing and drain company having crashed into a building, the Winthrop Police Department said in a statement, adding the suspect then fled on foot.
Upon arrival, officers found two people shot, police said, adding Green was pronounced dead at the scene while Cooper was transported to a local hospital where she was later pronounced dead.
Officers located Allen a short distance away and ordered him to drop his weapon before one of them opened fire, Rollins said.
According to authorities, Allen was transported to a local hospital were he later died.
Rollins said Cooper and Green were among citizens who approached Allen to help someone they believed was in an accident and were targeted because of the color of their skin.
"He walked by several other people that were not Black and they are alive. They were not harmed," she said. "They were exceptional neighbors and residents and citizens of Winthrop offered help because they thought this was an individual, Nathan Allen, that had just got into an accident but they are alive and these two visible people of color are not."
She said a preliminary investigation has uncovered "some troubling White supremacist rhetoric," including anti-Semitic and and racist statements about Black people written in his own hand.
In a statement Sunday, she said Allen wrote "about the superiority of the White race. About Whites being 'apex predators.' He drew swastikas."
During the press conference she said it was unknown why he was driving at a high rate of speed toward a section of the town just outside of Boston that is home to several synagogues.
"We don't know where he was going," she said. "That is mere speculation."
She called Allen "unassuming" in that he wasn't on their radar, he had a license to carry a gun, had no criminal record and was employed, married and had earned a Ph.D.
"And then yesterday afternoon, he stole a box truck, crashed it into another vehicle and a property, walked away from the wreckage interacting with multiple individuals and choosing only to shoot and kill the two Black people he encountered," she said in the statement.
Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason said Green was a 36-year veteran of the force.
"Trooper Green was widely respected and well-liked by his fellow troopers, several of whom yesterday described him as a 'true gentleman' and always courteous to the public and meticulous in his duties," Mason said in a statement published on Facebook. "We are heartbroken by his loss and offer our condolences to his family and friends."