On May 10, 1999, Patrolman Lawrence Jupin of Westminster, MA, noticed an unusual individual dressed in camouflage (no, not me) walking along Route 31.
Naturally, as it was not hunting season and it was 12:15 am, Patrolman Jupin and Officer Ralph LeBlanc detained the man and requested his ID. Upon receiving it, he called the dispatcher to check for warrants. Then the shit hit the fan.
The man ran into a nearby wooded area, with Jupin following close behind. The suspect pulled a .357 Magnum handgun and pointed it in Jupin’s direction. Larry told him to drop his weapon. There was an exchange of fire and both men were wounded. Officer LeBlanc heard Jupin shout “I’m hit!”
Officer Jupin was transported to a nearby hospital to be treated for his injuries. Soon after the incident Larry slipped into a coma.
He was checked in to Wachusett Manor in Gardner, Ma, where he remained in a semi-vegetative state until his passing on November 29, 2002.
I had the honor of visiting this local hero when I worked with therapy dogs that visited area nursing home. Larry Jupin at one time was close to 250 pounds of solid muscle, roughly around 6’4″. When I saw him, he was probably 125 pounds, soaking wet. He looked nothing like the cheerful patrolman we all knew and loved. His muscles were severely atrophied, his eyes were sunken back into his head. He was trapped inside a shrunken shell of himself. The only things he responded to were the dogs that came to visit.
Larry came down with pneumonia and passed away shortly after. He is survived by his parents.
His shooter, Jason Rivers, had run ins with Fitchburg police in the year prior. He had been charged with assault with intent to rape when he attacked his ex-girlfriend in his apartment building. He also had a conviction for an assault of a college professor.
Jason Rivers was due in court in May 1999 for a possible probation violation stemming from an additional altercation. He failed to appear for his probation violation hearing, and a warrant was issued for his arrest. It was that warrant that showed up when he was stopped by Officers Jupin and LeBlanc
Sadly, however, his shooter would not face trial for another ten years. Jason Rivers was found incompetent to stand trial and was incarcerated in Bridgewater State Hospital twice.
Jason Rivers is facing charges filed in 1999 of two counts of armed assault with intent to murder – one for an alleged attack on Jupin and the other for an alleged attack on LeBlanc – assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a handgun) and possession of gun on a person/in motor vehicle with no license, according to court records.
Rivers also faces a murder charge, which was filed in February 2003.
However, in February 2009, he was again found competent to stand trial. His trial was set to begin on April 21, 2009, but that trial date was postponed and a new date has not been set yet.
This case gained extra notoriety when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a homeowner can be sued for failing to secure a gun collection, if a gun from that collection is stolen and later used in a crime.
In 1983, Willis Rivers, father of Jason Rivers, moved into the home of his girlfriend, Sharon Kask. Willis Rivers was an avid hunter, and owned a gun collection of close to 30 legally registered firearms. They guns were stored in a homemade gun cabinet which could be easily opened by someone without a key to it’s lock. Jason Rivers Lived with the couple on and off up until the day of Officer Jupin’s murder, and also had a key to the house.
Lawrence Jupin’s mother, Joanne Jupin, sued Sharon Kask, arguing that failing to properly secure the .357 Magnum handgun in a home where a person lived who was known to be mentally unstable and violent was negligent, created a public nuisance and made Kask liable for damages. The Court agreed (read the Court’s decision here).
The Town of Westminster did everything they could to show their support for Officer Jupin. The town voted to cover many of Jupin’s medical expense through the years he was in a coma and they kept him as an officer in the department until his death. They also dedicated a stretch of Massachusetts State Route 31 in Jupin’s honor in November of 2003.
Does Jason Rivers Deserve Hell?
- Yes (83%, 285 Votes)
- No (17%, 58 Votes)
Total Voters: 343
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