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BUPD patrolmen recognized for nabbing assault suspect

BUPD patrolmen Bill Campanella and Brian Abdullah are recognized for outstanding service.

BUPD patrolmen Bill Campanella and Brian Abdullah are recognized for nabbing assault suspect. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

BUPD patrolmen Bill Campanella and Brian Abdullah soon will receive commendations from both the Boston and Boston University Police Departments for their outstanding work in arresting a man suspected of riding a stolen motorcycle into a Boston police officer last month and subsequently eluding police for more than an hour.

According to police reports, the suspect rode a motorcycle into a group of Boston and BU police officers on Brighton Avenue in Allston on the evening of September 9, hitting and injuring one officer, before fleeing toward BU. Campanella and Abdullah, who were patrolling the BU campus in an umarked squad car, heard the incident reported on their radio. Within minutes, another BU officer spotted the suspect speeding on Babcock Street, and Campanella and Abdullah soon saw him ride down an alleyway near T. Anthony’s restaurant on Commonwealth Avenue. The suspect fell off the motorcycle when it got stuck on a chain in the alleyway, and Abdullah chased him on foot through several nearby backyards before losing him. Police from four departments quickly converged on the area near Naples Road in Brookline, but after a fruitless hunt, left the scene after about half an hour.

But not Campanella and Abdullah. "Brian and I have been on the force a long time, and we’d seen this type of situation before," says Campanella, an 18-year veteran of BUPD. "We figured that because so many officers converged on the area so quickly, it was likely that the suspect didn’t have time to flee the area, but rather was hiding somewhere. We decided to wait it out, and give him some breathing room so he’d get comfortable and come walking out, and that’s what happened."

Campanella and Abdullah, an 8-year-veteran of the department, spotted a man fitting the suspect’s description in an alleyway nearly 90 minutes after the initial incident, and detained him until other officers returned to identify him. The suspect was charged with numerous crimes, including asault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to murder, and is awaiting trial.

"What these officers did was outstanding police work, says BUPD lieutenant Robert Gaffney. "After other officers had gone back to their duties, they followed their gut and stayed with the case."