City honors first Italian-born Boston police officer 10/08/2011 3:15 PM

By Sarah Schweitzer, Globe Staff

Ninety years after Patrolman Andrew B. Cuneo died battling a gunman on Hanover Street in the North End, his family and city dignitaries gathered a few blocks away this morning to remember and honor the first Italian-born Boston police officer and the first Italian-born officer killed in the line of duty.

“You have fleshed out a man we never knew,” Cuneo’s granddaughter, Barbara Cuneo O’Connell, of Newton, told police officers who had researched Cuneo’s story.

Cuneo was born in Genoa and came to Boston as a child. He graduated at the top of his class at the Eliot School and was appointed to the Boston Police on May 9, 1906. He left a widow, Winifred, and nine children in Dorchester.

“This is a big thing for us,” said Rosetta Romagnoli, a Bostonian who immigrated from Italy in 1964. “We are not talking about Leonardo da Vinci. This was a regular person and he is being honored.”

Sarah Schweitzer can be reached at [email protected]