During the early morning hours of September 11, 1967, at 3:18 AM, tragedy struck the town of Ashland. Patrolman Charles E. Cadorette, age 38, a one year veteran and father of four children was gunned down and his partner Ptlm.. Robert Gonfrade, age 26 was seriously wounded by gun fire at an area called Workmen's Circle, a field adjacent to Cedar Street. (This area is now the current developed site of Captain Eames Circle.)
The officers unknowingly stopped a suspicious motor vehicle that turned out to be stolen. The stolen vehicle was being followed by a second vehicle being operated by a female. The driver of the first vehicle, Bernard Perkins, age 21 was armed with a fully loaded semi-automatic 9 mm handgun.
During the initial stop, Officer Charles Cadorette approached Perkins in the first vehicle as Ptlm. Robert Gonfrade approached a female in the second vehicle. Ptlm. Cadorette was initially disarmed at gun point and was held hostage by the armed man who was also using him as a shield. Ptlm. Charles Cadorette turned and attempted to disarm the subject holding him hostage. The gunman fired point blank and a bullet fatally struck Officer Cadorette in the chest and he fell to the ground. The gunman then immediately fired at Ptlm. Robert Gonfrade and he was quickly struck twice by bullets. Although seriously wounded, Ptlm. Gonfrade managed to returned fire and strike Perkins.
Ptlm. Gonfrade was unable to move from his position due to the extent of his injuries and could not get to the cruiser radio for help. He directed the female to check on her acquaintance, Perkins. At this time he was unsure if the threat of the gunman was over. After learning that the gunman appeared to be dead, he directed the female to call on the cruiser radio for help. The female had difficulty calling for help. Ptlm. Gonfrade managed to drag himself 20 feet to the cruiser and radio for assistance. Note: In 1967, Officer Cadorette and Officer Gonfrade were the only Ashland Police officers on duty that night and they were both shot. Framingham Police officers and officers from surrounding towns converged on the desolate area in search of the fallen officers. After some time, they finally located Workman's Circle and Patrolman Robert Gonfrade was rushed to Framingham Union Hospital for emergency surgery. Ptlm. Cadorette and the gunman were pronounced dead on arrival.
Charles Cadorette was laid to rest in Wildwood Cemetery. Hundreds of police officers came to his funeral along with residents of the Town of Ashland. He left his wife Claire and his four children, Sherylann, 10, Paul, 7, Charles Jr, 5 and Diane, 4. (Ages of the children at the time of his death)
Ptlm. Charles Cadorette served the Town of Ashland with distinction and honor for the four short years (Three years part-time, 1 yr. full-time) that he was an Ashland Police Officer prior to his death. His name has been placed on the Law Enforcement Memorial Wall located in Judiciary Square in Washington D.C., along with the other thousands of police officers who have been killed in the line of duty from across this country. His name appears on Panel W-12 of the Memorial Wall. Charlie's badge number 9 has been forever retired. September 11, 1997, is the 30th anniversary of his death.
An imprint of an Ashland Police Badge, number 9 is inscribed on a memorial stone that sits at the front of the Ashland Police Station. The current police station was completed in 1978 and was dedicated in memory of Ptlm. Charles Cadorette.
Ptlm. Robert Gonfrade recovered from his wounds and worked his way up through the ranks. He became Police Chief in 1973 and served in that capacity with distinction until he retired in 1994. He is currently enjoying his much deserved retirement.
Charlie's death serves as a constant reminder to
the members of the Ashland Police Department, that police work can turn deadly at any
time-without warning !!!
The Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington DC, is located in Judiciary Square where the names of thousands of police officers who were killed in the line of duty are etched in stone. May 15th is Police Officers Memorial Day when flags will be at half staff in recognition of the deaths of law enforcement officers in the United States. On this date we reflect upon those police officers who gave their lives while serving their communities.
May They Rest In Peace
With the generous help from Ashland's own O'Hara and Company the Ashland Police Department will be renovating the Cadorette Memorial which sits in front of the Ashland Police Station.
At a young age of 38, Patrolman Cadorette lost his life serving the Town of Ashland.
A crew from O'Hara and Company began work on Friday August 12, 2005
Special Thank You To:
Without their generous donation of time and material this project would not be successful.
POLICE OFFICER'S PRAYER
I ask for courage
Courage to face and
Courage to take me
I ask for strength
I ask for dedication
Give me Lord, concern
And please Lord