Gary Mazzone, the father of Stafford/Somers/East Windsor coach Brian Mazzone, was one of of the victims in Wednesday’s B-17 crash at Bradley Airport.
Seven people lost their lives and numerous others injured when a vintage World War II-era bomber crashed shortly after takeoff.
Mazzone served the Vernon Police Department for 22 years. He was hired Aug. 2, 1976 and retired September 23, 1998. Mazzone had a distinguished career and was a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Vernon police received confirmation of his death Wednesday evening. Brian Mazzone eulogized his father in an Instagram post on the Stafford football account. He was the father of three children, including Brian, and stepfather to two.
“My dad followed our athletics our entire lives,” Brian Mazzone wrote. “But I don’t think anything ever gave my dad as much joy as following the Bulldogs.
“…He was almost [at] every game, postgame meeting, banquet, and he’d even stop in for practice. He also developed so many wonderful relationships with so many of you great people. He truly did care about you and your sons. I’m heartbroken.”
Several local football programs offered their condolences and support on social media, including friend Erick Knickerbocker, the head coach at Rockville, who coached alongside Mazzone at Ellington.
Rockville Football sends our condolences to Brian, his family and the entire Stafford Football Family. Gary was at every game and loved HS Footballl, and was proud as hell of his Son @brian_mazzone https://t.co/82FWWeg2oP
— Rockville Rams High School Football (@TheRockFootball) October 3, 2019
We have your back, Coach.
— Bears HS Football (@GMHSFootball860) October 3, 2019
After retiring from Vernon police, Gary Mazzone worked as an Inspector within the Connecticut Division of Criminal Justice. He retired from the state in January 2019.
“Mazzone spent over 42 years in law enforcement serving the town and the state,” said Vernon Police Chied Chief James L. Kenny. “He had a special relationship with Special Olympics Connecticut and is a member of their hall of fame. As recent as last month, he was still supporting VPD’s efforts with Special Olympics.”
Mazzone lived with his wife, Joan, in East Windsor.
The Boeing B-17, a World War II bomber plane, crashed at the end of Runway 6 while trying to land on the tarmac around 10 a.m., according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The 74-year-old plane, which carried 10 passengers and three crew members, crashed into a de-icing building and burst into flames on impact, sending heavy black smoke high into the air, visible for miles around the airport.
Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner James Rovella said during a press conference Wednesday night that seven people were killed in the crash and that six survivors from the plane were in “varying medical conditions” from minor to critical. An airport employee was also injured in the crash, Rovella said.
Reports from Hearst Connecticut Media have been included in this story.