Detective Roy Joseph Sergei

Detective Roy Joseph Sergei

Boston Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Monday, October 26, 1987

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Roy Joseph Sergei

Detective Joseph Sergei was shot and mortally wounded by a man who had just shot another officer during a subject stop.

Detective Sergei and several other officers had responded to a domestic disturbance at 371 Commonwealth Avenue. Two officers who had gone to the back of the building encountered an unrelated person attempting to climb a 12-foot fence. The officers stopped the man, and as they began to pat him down, he suddenly reached into his coat and fired a shot through his clothing, striking one of the officers. The man then fled through the alley to Massachusetts Avenue, where he encountered Detective Sergei at the front of the building. The man shot Detective Sergei as he continued to flee.

Both officers were transported to a hospital in critical condition. Detective Sergei died 17 days later. After several weeks the other officer recovered and returned to work. In 2006 he had to retire because of depression and other mental issues that resulted from the shooting. Sadly he lost everything and ended up in a homeless shelter five years later.

The 35-year-old suspect was identified. He had recently been released from a Texas Federal prison where he served a sentence for bank robbery. He was seen several days later in San Francisco. San Francisco police searched a storage unit he had rented and found two pipe bombs. It was later discovered he was going to use them to rob a bank. In January of 1988, he was placed on the FBI's ten most wanted list. On September 4, 1988, with the help of Mexican police, FBI agents apprehended him in his luxury condominium at a seaside resort in Guadalajara, Mexico. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to life plus 20 years with no parole. As of April 8, 2023, he was in prison.

Detective Sergei had served with the Boston Police Department for 17 years. He is survived by his wife, three children, and parents.

He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Detective.


  • Age 41
  • Tour 17 years
  • Badge 2886

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Friday, October 9, 1987
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Sentenced to life

subject stop, suspicious person

Most Recent Reflection

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I recently saw Detective Sergei’s memorial by MIT and was moved to read his story. It is important to pay tribute to heroes taken too soon and still honor those who served long ago.

Jon Q Publick

November 22, 2022

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