Cop of the Week

by Melissa Bailey | June 20, 2007 2:04 PM | | Comments (7)

IMG_8918.JPGCops today arrested a 16-year-old for the murder of Ricardo Beamon — thanks to a hunch, and some quick thinking, by Officer Stephan Torquati (pictured).

Torquati, who’s 31, usually walks a beat up and down Kensington Street, dealing with quality of life issues like trash and public drinking. On June 2, he happened to be downtown at 1 Union Ave., waiting to escort a suspect to the hospital.

It was a Saturday night. Downtown was alive with visitors for the Puerto Rican Parade. Torquati stood on the steps of headquarters with one ear to one police channel on his shoulder radio and another to the scanner on his hip. He heard the call come in: Ricardo “Reno” Beamon, co-owner of the Yuppy Boutique, had been shot dead outside his store. Police at the scene released a plate number of a burgundy getaway car, headed down State Street: “4-2-9-Whiskey-Oscar-Charlie.”

Torquati peered down State Street to see if the car would whiz by. It didn’t. It turned out nothing came back on the plate number described. From his position away from the heat of the crime scene, he thought over the plate number.

“You know what? ‘O’ looks a lot like a ‘D’,” said Torquati, recalling the incident from a swivel chair at the Dwight police substation this week. “I changed the Oscar to a Delta.”

He ran the plate — “there it was, an exact description of the car fleeing the scene.” The car traced back to a Winthrop Avenue address.

Torquati radioed his discovery across the airwaves. Getting no response, he called his fellow cops back in Dwight/Kensington. They jumped in patrol cars and went to Winthrop, where they found the getaway car and several people who’d been inside.

The Arrest

As a result of the interviews that ensued, police tracked down a suspect. Wednesday at 1 p.m., they arrested a 16-year-old boy and charged him with felony murder, according to police spokeswoman Bonnie Posick. The teen was being held on a $2 million bond. Police believe the incident started as a robbery but escalated into murder: The teen was also charged with robbery in the first degree, larceny in the second degree and weapons charges.

Police Wednesday commended Torquati for his help in the investigation.

“It sounded simple to me, but I guess it helped out a lot,” said Torquati of his detective work. In his six years on the force, he’s spent most of the time on a walking patrol, walking miles and miles up and down Kensington. “It’s a perfect profession for someone who is intelligent and athletic,” said the officer, who moved to Connecticut to play hockey for Quinnipiac University.

Would he consider a move to the detective bureau? “Yes, a hundred percent.”

(To read other installments in the Independent’s “Cop of the Week” series, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

(To suggest an officer to be featured, click here.)

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Posted by: andy ross | June 20, 2007 6:02 PM

Cop of the week? I think Cop of the year! Good Job.

Posted by: umm | June 20, 2007 9:23 PM

shouldent this type of thing be a matter of course. I would think getting 3 or 4 of the 6 characters correct with the color of the car would be enough to narrow down the search. I think Officer Torquati did a great job here but if thats what it takes there is something wrong with the system. A high school student could write a computer program in a day to come up with an algorithm for this. I'm amazed the state/city dosent have a way of doing this programmatically and automatically.

Posted by: jms | June 20, 2007 10:42 PM

"A high school student could write a computer program in a day to come up with an algorithm for this."

Great work but I was thinking exactly the same thing. These guys need better tools to solve crimes.


Posted by: Noah [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 21, 2007 12:44 AM

The last two comments are totally missing the point.

The police are part of a larger effort and I think this series of articles celebrates small and large contributions to the work of public safety. Furthermore, the officer featured in this article would agree with you as he also describes his solution as 'simple.' In light of the last few weeks of violence, I find it inappropriate to criticize any successes that the NHPD manages -especially as we head into another summer.

(In other words... criticizing corruption, inefficiency and other shortcomings in regards to our police might be accurate, but shooting fish in a barrel might only promote more politically defensive posturing by those in charge. I'm ready for something positive.)

Posted by: packin' | June 21, 2007 7:53 AM

I hope someday I get an award or at least a patronizing tag like "XXXXX of the week" for doing my job.

Not just in this little article but every place of employment Ive ever been it seems like doing the job you are being paid to do qualifies as above and beyond.

I couldnt tell you how much praise Ive gotten from employers just for showing up. WTF is so hard about doing whats expected of you?

Posted by: Terry | June 21, 2007 3:36 PM

Thank you Officer Beamon for doing your best and thinking quickly. If the dept. had waited, who knows if you would have been able to make the arrest. As for some of the comments, can't we celebrate the "wins" sometimes?

Posted by: umm | June 22, 2007 1:56 AM

Noah i think you miss the point. The police were lucky to have put two and two together here when it should have been by design. What happens tommorow when someone mistakes an S for a 5 Or next week when someone thinks a 7 is a T, or if someone just happens to transpose a digit There has to be a better way. I think it would be inappropriate and irresponsible not to point this out.

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