A former Town of Aurora man was shot to death in a Massachusetts bar after a confrontation with an off-duty police officer, who was charged with murder.
Blase B. "Buddy" Brennan, 42, was killed Wednesday evening in West Springfield, Mass., during a fight that erupted after some patrons of the bar, where Brennan was described as a regular, tossed paper coasters around during horseplay, police said Friday.
Patrolman Joseph A. Accetta, 41, a 17-year veteran of the Springfield force, was charged with murder and other counts. Police said Accetta was on extended medical leave from the department, reportedly because of stress.
Accetta sat down at a table after the shooting and walked outside with his hands in the air as police arrived, Capt. Thomas Burke, West Springfield chief of detectives, said Friday.
Brennan was in Dirty Louie's Tavern, described as a tough local bar, with some friends shortly before 6 p.m. Wednesday, police said.
Some of the men began throwing coasters, hitting Accetta, who was standing at the bar. A verbal exchange followed, then Accetta pulled out a 9mm pistol and fired once over their heads, Burke said.
More words were exchanged, and Accetta fired again, police said.
Brennan approached him, and the pair began to fight. Three more shots were fired, one striking Brennan in the chest and one in the stomach, police said. Brennan was pronounced dead a short time later in a hospital.
The entire episode "was totally irresponsible and negligent all the way around," Burke said.
Brennan moved to West Springfield, a Springfield suburb of about 30,000, from Aurora about seven years ago to work for a railroad after his own railroad job in the Buffalo area had been eliminated, his friend Walter Holmes said Friday.
Holmes said Brennan graduated from East Aurora High School in 1966, joined the Marine Corps a short time later and was in combat in Vietnam.
"He never backed down from anything," said Holmes, an East Aurora tavern owner.
Accetta also was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of unlawfully discharging a weapon, Burke said. Accetta had a license for the 9mm pistol, which was not his service pistol, he said.
A Mass of Christian Burial for Brennan will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Monday in St. George's Catholic Church on Old Glenwood Road in the hamlet of West Falls, Town of Aurora. Burial will be in Griffins Mills Cemetery.
Survivors include his wife, the former Nanci Pawlowski, of West Springfield; two children from a previous marriage, Amy and Robert of East Aurora; his mother, Marian Rogers Brennan Milgate; and a sister, Diana Duffus.