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His last act was in keeping with how he lived: The year- old Millbrae motorcycle officer was gunned down moments after leaving the ballpark Saturday morning, when he answered a call for back-up from a San Bruno officer.
The first radio call was for routine back-up. It isn't known if Chetcuti heard a more desperate call for help, when year-old Marvin Patrick Sullivan -- a San Francisco truck driver with a history of violence and an apparent hatred of police -- allegedly began firing a high-powered rifle at Graham.
The San Bruno policeman dove for cover behind his car, then into a drainage ditch, where he successfully dodged a fusillade from Sullivan's semi-automatic rifle, police said. A search by San Mateo County Sheriff's Deputies at Sullivan's hotel room in San Francisco's South of Market district uncovered rifle parts, gunpowder, blasting caps and other bomb-making paraphernalia, Parker said. When California Highway Patrol officers stopped Sullivan in a parking lot on the Hayward side of the San Mateo Bridge, four crude pipe bombs tumbled out of the Chevrolet, which also carried a cache of guns.
Police Millbrae hotties chat Millbrae he has confessed to the shooting. Sullivan was being held yesterday in San Mateo County Jail. Investigators kept a tight lid yesterday on information involving Sullivan's background, or possible reasons why he was so heavily armed.
But sources said he had an extensive criminal record involving guns, drugs and attacking police officers. A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections said no information on Sullivan's prison record would be available until today. However, investigators said he had enough convictions on his record to qualify for a three- strikes lifetime prison sentence if convicted of killing Chetcuti.
Sullivan could also face the death penalty if convicted of all the charges possible in Saturday's slaying. The tragedy appeared to fit an increasingly disturbing pattern of risk for police officers since the three-strikes law was passed in the early s.
Statistics in recent years have shown that ex-convicts who clash with police and have at least two convictions on their record have become more likely to try to kill the officers rather than risk arrest and a possible three-strikes conviction. Stunned Millbrae residents -- many of them, like Chetcuti, of Maltese heritage -- built a shrine of flowers yesterday for the mustachioed cop. Roses and tulips from flower shops, chrysanthemums in pots and birds of paradise from backyard gardens piled up in front of the marking the Millbrae police station.
Photographs of Chetcuti, including a community police trading card showing him on his motorcycle, rested amid handwritten messages and votive candles. Flags flew at half-staff all over town. He was the first police officer in the history of Millbrae, a small town of 21, to fall in the line of duty. At the ball field on Saturday morning, Chetcuti had been chatting with Aquilina, who grew up with him in the Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco. The two Millbrae hotties chat Millbrae remained fast friends ever since.
Chetcuti loved cars and motorcycles, and both were on his mind. He talked about adding a tilt wheel to the car used in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, a police effort to teach kids about drugs in school. He talked about how his motorcycle's gas tank had been dented during a repair, and had been repainted except for the police inia. But Chetcuti broke off the friendly ballpark chatter when a call came in about an officer needing back-up. He sped off -- true to his reputation for being first on the scene -- and that was the Millbrae hotties chat Millbrae Aquilina saw of him.
Joan and Ted Adams of Burlingame didn't know Chetcuti at all, but they drove up to the police station to drop off flowers anyway. Chetcuti leaves a wife, Gail, and three sons: David, age 17; John, 14; and Rick, Millbrae police have set up a trust fund for the family. Friends and fellow officers described Chetcuti as a remarkable community man, dedicated to his job, his family and his neighbors. David Chetcuti's father brought his big family to America from the island nation of Malta in David was the baby of the family, the youngest of seven children, and unlike his siblings was born in the United States.
Family members say Chetcuti always wanted to be a police officer, was living his dream, and passing that ambition on to the kids of Millbrae. Lynn Azzopardi planted a small Maltese flag at the police headquarters memorial. On Saturday she had gone down to the girls' softball game at Taylor field to introduce herself to the officer. Her mother-in-law had struck up a conversation with Chetcuti, learning that he, like the Azzopardi's, were of Maltese descent. The officer had given Paul one of the trading cards that showed him on his motorcycle. But Azzopardi never got a chance to meet Officer Chetcuti.
As she was walking toward him, he hopped on his motorcycle, and drove off to answer the call for help. Across the bay, Fremont investigators examined the pipe bombs found in Sullivan's truck, but concluded the suspect probably had no connection with the string of bombings that plagued the city about a month ago. The pipe bombs from the truck were "much cruder than the devices found in our city," Fremont police Lieutenant Jim McKiernan said yesterday.
His daughter, Lisa, 9, Aquilina left and sister Rose Aquilina, look on as they hug.Millbrae hotties chat Millbrae
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