Nov. 21 marked the anniversary of the death of Plainville Police Officer Robert Holcomb, who died in the line of duty in 1977.
Holcomb, 28, was killed on Hollyberry Lane while responding to a burglary. He was shot once in the arm and four times in the chest. He died at New Britain General Hospital.
Gerald Castonguay, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for Holcomb’s murder. He was granted parole in 2015 which was quickly revoked after the community expressed disappointment in the decision.
Since Holcomb’s death, an annual tribute has been held to honor his memory.
In 2017, the 40th anniversary of Holcomb’s death, Plainville Chief of Police Matthew Catania said, “It’s a time honored tradition to honor our fallen officers. We’re very proud to be part of this tribute.”
“We all take that oath,” Catania said. “Officers put themselves in harm’s way to uphold that oath.”
A post on the Plainville Police Department’s Facebook page titled "Forever Honored – Forever Mourned" states, in part:
“As Officer Holcomb approached the home on Hollyberry Lane, he observed two men running away from the scene. Officer Holcomb pursued the men on foot, but unbeknown to him one of the men, 33-year-old Gary Castonguay, stopped in the woods across the street preparing to ambush Officer Holcomb. Castonguay shot Officer Holcomb once in the arm before standing over him and firing four more shots into Officer Holcomb’s chest … Officer Holcomb was a U.S. Marine Vietnam veteran and had been a police officer for five years. He was married and had a 3-year-old son, Mac Holcomb. In Officer Holcomb's honor the Town of Plainville renamed the street that the high school is on after him. His badge number will never be used again.”