Chief of Police Robert J. Mortell

Chief of Police Robert J. Mortell

Paxton Police Department, Massachusetts

End of Watch Tuesday, February 1, 1994

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Robert J. Mortell

Chief of Police Robert Mortell was shot and killed after locating three burglary suspects on Kendall Road in Holden.

Chief Mortell was responding to the call from a neighboring department, and as he turned the corner to the residence where the burglary had occurred, in a wooded area, he spotted one of the suspects. He was confronting one of the subjects at gunpoint when the man opened fire, killing him.

All three subjects were arrested. The subject who shot and killed Chief Mortell was sentenced to life without parole. Another subject was convicted of second-degree murder and was denied parole in 2023. The other accomplice was found guilty of armed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, and larceny and was paroled in 2023.

A Boston police officer, while on his way home from the funeral of Chief Mortell, apprehended a suspect who had just shot and killed Police Officer Berisford Anderson of the Boston Police Department.

Chief Mortell was an instructor at the in-service academy at Mt. Wachusett Community College, served as the town of Paxton D.A.R.E. Officer, and was a high honors graduate of the Quinsigamond Community College Criminal Justice Program. He had served with the Paxton Police Department for 12 years. He is survived by his wife, son, and two daughters.


  • Age 38
  • Tour 12 years
  • Badge 1

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Sentenced to life


Most Recent Reflection

View all 45 Reflections

I was arrested by Bobby Mortell For a suspected DUI back in 1986. I was 26 years old and heading back to Oakham after being out with a friend in Worcester. Bobby and his partner we’re headed in the opposite direction on Route 122 in Paxton and noticed that I had drifted over the line. They turned around and pulled me over close to the Paxton police Department. They gave me the sobriety check and decided to take me in to the Holden station for booking. Bobby had his partner, whose name I do not know, drive my truck to the police station in Paxton to save me from being charged for a tow. He then proceeded, after handcuffing me and putting me in the cruiser, to drop his partner off at home on the way to Holden. Bobby then took me to the police station in Holden where I was booked. Back then The bill for me was $20 which I had in my wallet. I was able to post bail immediately. Bobby then asked if I would like to call someone for a ride. I let him know that I was recently separated and being fairly new to the area did not know anyone. I do not remember what Bobby said to me but the next thing I knew he had me in the front seat of his cruiser and was driving me home all the way to Oakham Which is about 20 minutes away. We talked along the way and he knew my neighbors where he had helped during haying season as a young kid. He dropped me off at the end of my driveway and shook my hand and said…” we all make mistakes once in a while“. I did not even fight it in court and plead guilty. I was so saddened when I heard what happened to Bobby after that. I have wanted for 30 years to write to his wife/widow to let her know what a compassionate and fair man that Bobby was. I hope to find the courage to locate her address so that I might write her a note about Bobby. In writing this I hope that the whole community knows Who is this man Bobby Mortell was.

Chuck Delaney

February 8, 2024

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