Man who killed Auburn officer had history of violence against police

CLINTON — Governor Charlie Baker is calling for an investigation into why the man who shot and killed an Auburn police officer wasn't already behind bars.

Jorge Zambrano, the man who shot and killed Officer Ron Tarentino over the weekend, had a long criminal history that included violence aimed towards police.


Jorge Zambrano was charged in February in a domestic violence case, and when he was arrested police say Zambrano threatened state troopers.

FOX25’s Bob Ward uncovered these new allegations in court documents.

That case is still open and Zambrano made an appearance at Clinton District Court just last week.

Court documents make it clear that Zambrano had no intention of going back to jail.

Zambrano was arrested Feb. 10 after court documents say he was hitting his girlfriend on the side of Route 495 near exit 26.

A motorist called police saying she saw a man hit a woman, and she fell to the ground.

As police tried to arrest Zambrano, he warned them ‘I am not going back,’ and then he struggled with police.

At the state police barracks, the report says that Zambrano was angry and directed that anger toward police with another warning; “he stated we made a big mistake and if he wanted to hurt us he could have taken our guns.”

This all took place just a few weeks after Zambrano was arrested for allegedly assaulting a Worcester police officer in January.

At Clinton District Court, the District Attorney tried to revoke Zambrano's bail, but the judge refused.
Instead, Zambrano was released when the girlfriend he was charged with attacking posted his $500 bail.

In the weeks leading up to the murder of Officer Ronald Tarentino, Zambrano could have been sent back to jail for probation violations, but he never was.

In fact, the assault on the Worcester cop in January was dismissed.


Zambrano's lawyer told FOX25 that he and others, including law enforcement officers, were trying to help Zambrano with mental health issues and substance abuse counseling.

“Cumulatively, yes it looks terrible. When you take those cases individually, they don't look so bad. And now that you have what ultimately happened, of course it looks like everybody failed. I feel like I failed. And I'm sure probation feels they failed. Everybody wanted to try and help this kid,” Zambrano’s attorney Anthony Scola said.

Retired Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Isaac Borenstein told FOX25 it appears to him that the courts may have been too eager to keep Zambrano moving through the system.

“The system moves so fast, courts are so busy, people get so engaged that ‘next, are we done yet, let’s go, we’ve got to leave at 4 p.m., next, tomorrow’s another busy day,’ and that’s where the danger lurks,” Borenstein said.

The court system is reviewing how Zambrano's case was handled and why he was still allowed to be on the streets with his criminal record. 

"In response to these tragic circumstances, a preliminary review of their court decisions indicates that no law, court rule or court procedure was violated," said Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey. 

The full investigation is expected to be completed by mid-June.