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Three-and-a-half hours that turned a town inside-out

Posted by Ralph Ranalli November 8, 2007 02:11 PM

needham.JPG
Hillel Neuer, a visiting civil rights official from Geneva, walks out of Stone Hearth Pizza at gunpoint after jittery employees called police and reported his behavior as suspicious.
(Globe staff photo by Yoon S. Byun)

NEEDHAM

A murder is always a traumatic event for a quiet suburban town like Needham, but technology transformed Friday's tragic killing of a 78-year-old homeowner into a townwide convulsion, during which both the advantages and pitfalls of instant communication were on display.

With a suspected murderer on the loose, an entire town full of children and innocent civilians was alerted, locked down, and finally reassured, all with remarkable speed, staff writers Ralph Ranalli and Lisa Kocian report in today's Globe West

At the same time, holes in the system were exposed, mistakes were made, and the heightened state of alert resulted in a televised armed standoff in the middle of Needham Center that turned out to be a case of mistaken identity.

Read more about 3 1/2 hours that turned a peaceful suburb inside out.

-- Ralph Ranalli

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