Police mourn loss of fellow officer

Robert Byrne

NAUGATUCK — Fellow officers mourned the untimely death of decorated Officer Robert “Tommy” Byrne, 38, over the weekend.

Byrne, an Army veteran and 11-year member of the Naugatuck Police force, died unexpectedly at his Seymour home last Friday.

“Officer Byrne was a very respected officer in the community as well as in the department among his peers,” Naugatuck Police Union President Sgt. Colin McAllister said.

He said Byrne’s loss was greatly felt by members of the union.

“He was just always a very friendly officer, known for his easygoing demeanor,” McAllister said.

McAllister said Byrne was proud of his military service.

Last year, Byrne received a medal for bravery for a 2015 incident in which he entered a condominium on Rubber Avenue which was engulfed in flames.

“Despite these conditions, officers went to the unit directly above the fire, and in imminent danger of being over taken by the fire. Sgt. Daniel Norck and Officer Byrne were able to alert the tenants and evacuate them to safety,” police wrote in an awards ceremony program.

During the same awards ceremony, Byrne received a unit citation for contributing to the apprehension of an armed robber at Walmart who stole $30,000 worth of merchandise after threatening staff with a screw driver.

Byrne was also awarded a medal for Outstanding Service when he successfully located and apprehended a suspect in a motor vehicle burglary. Byrne was able to link the suspect to car thefts plaguing the borough throughout 2014 and 2015.

In a statement, Naugatuck police Lt. Bryan Cammarata said Byrne was a highly respected and well-liked veteran of the Naugatuck Police Department.

“The loss of Officer Byrne is tragic loss for the family, friends and community Tom belonged to and so proudly served. The Naugatuck Police Department asks for the community’s thoughts, prayers and privacy during this time,” Cammarata said.

The Naugatuck Police Department posted the suicide prevention awareness ribbon on its Facebook page last Friday. Underneath the image, Seymour police and others expressed their condolences for the loss of Byrne.