Skip to main content

Holliston - Local Town Pages

Parole granted for man who killed HPD officer in 1981

Holliston Police Officer John Johnson, 31, was killed in the line of duty on Aug. 13, 1981. His murderer was granted parole in July, 42 years after the crime. Source:

Officer John Johnson was murdered after stopping a stolen vehicle

By Theresa Knapp

On Aug. 13, 1981, Rolando Jimenez, age 22, shot and killed Holliston Police Officer John Johnson, age 31, who had been on the job for six years. In 1982, Jimenez was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to “life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.” On July 31, 2023, Jimenez was granted parole after his 6th request. 

The decision by the Massachusetts State Parole Board was announced at a meeting of the Holliston Select Board on Aug. 7. 

Select Board Chair John Cronin said the judgement “hits hard, hits personally,” and opens old wounds.

“This decision has rocked our law enforcement community here in Holliston who have obviously a lot of emotional connections to the events 42 years ago to the loss of Officer Johnson. It’s a heartbreaking judgment that I think is safe to say is reaching some corners of our lives here in Holliston. I just wanted to acknowledge this evening the hard work that our law enforcement members do every day, the risks they take to protect us every single day.”

Cronin said he did not know Officer Johnson personally but noted that “John Johnson’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.” 

HPD Chief of Police Matthew J. Stone issued a statement shortly after the meeting. 

“As a police officer, as a human being, and as your Police Chief, I am disgusted with the Parole Board’s decision to grant Inmate Jimenez parole,” Stone said in a press release posted on Facebook on Aug. 9. “The decision by the Parole Board to release the murdered of a police officer back into the society in which he once terrorized, goes against every moral that is right and that is just.”

Officer Johnson was survived by his wife, Gerry, and children Jessica and Brian.  

Chief Stone said, “The murder of Officer John Johnson was not an accident. It was not a mistake. And it was not a lapse in judgment by Rolando Jimenez. This was an ambush. This was violent. And this was a murder of a police officer. No time in prison, no educational classes, and no rehabilitation program can undo what Rolando Jimenez did on that dreadful August evening nearly 42 years ago. Inmate Jimenez not only murdered the patriarch of the Johnson family, but he terrified a community that still affects many of us today.” 

According to the “Officer Down Memorial Page” (, these are the events that happened that night…

Patrolman Johnny Johnson was shot and killed with his own service weapon after stopping a stolen vehicle at 10:50 pm.

Patrolman Johnson was on patrol when he observed the vehicle. He began following the vehicle and was waiting for backup before attempting to stop the vehicle. The driver of the car suddenly pulled into a parking lot and stopped the car on Route 16 west of the Route 126 intersection, forcing Patrolman Johnson to initiate a felony traffic stop before his backup arrived. When he ordered both occupants out of the vehicle, the passenger fled on foot. Patrolman Johnson stayed with the driver, who then also attempted to flee.

 Patrolman Johnson was able to catch one of the suspects, but during the ensuing struggle, the man was able to gain control of his service weapon and shot him. The suspect then shot him twice more as he lay on the ground. He died from his wounds during surgery at Framingham Union Hospital.

The 22-year-old shooter, who had outstanding warrants for assault and battery and armed robbery, was apprehended three hours later following a massive manhunt. Patrolman Johnson’s service weapon was never located. Patrolman Johnson’s killer was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life. He was denied parole for the fourth time in April of 2009. 

Patrolman Johnson was a United States Air Force veteran and had served with the Holliston Police Department for six years. 

To read the full entry, visit