Holyoke remembering Officer John DiNapoli, 17 years later

Officer was killed in the line of duty on December 22, 1999

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Officer John DiNapoli is memorialized in a statue at Heritage State Park in Holyoke, across from police headquarters.

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Holyoke Police are honoring an officer they will never forget, during a day they would like to never remember. Exactly 17 years ago, Holyoke Police Officer John DiNapoli was killed in the line of duty.

On December 22, 1999, DiNapoli was answering a call about a disturbance, and followed suspect Eddie Morales in an unmarked cruiser. Morales, who had been walking, turned and fired at DiNapoli’s car; wounding the officer, who died at the hospital. He left behind a wife and two children.

A statue in Heritage State Park engraved with DiNapoli’s name and the names of other officers killed in the line of duty is a daily reminder for the Holyoke Police of the dangers of police work. Officer DiNapoli’s name is also inscribed over the department’s door, and his pictures remain hung on the window.

22News spoke Thursday with his son Andy, who is also a Holyoke Police officer. Andy DiNapoli told 22News that he remembers visiting his dad at the police station. John never wanted Andy to be a police officer and face the dangers he faced. Andy says that this is the first December 22 he has worked since his father passed.

“I have to drive by the area where he passed 100 times a day to go on different calls. And then, the monument behind us is a constant reminder of him. The guys here, they loved him, so I think for them to lost not just a fellow police officer, but for some of them a best friend,” Officer Andy DiNapoli said.

Andy has his father’s old police locker, his first gun was his father’s pistol, and he still wears his father’s St. Christopher medal around his neck.

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Beneath the statue of Officer John DiNapoli, a memorial lists the Holyoke police officers who were killed in the line of duty.