A vigil in celebration of Larchmont Patrolman Arthur Dematte’s life and to remember his sacrifice is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 5 p.m. at the Patrolman Arthur Dematte Memorial Park at the corner of Palmer Avenue and Parkway Street in Larchmont.
Dematte is the only Larchmont Police Officer to die in the line of duty.
The man who killed Larchmont Police Officer Dematte 46 years ago has been granted parole after more than a dozen rejections, and will be released from the prison at Sing Sing by Oct. 18.
Anthony Blanks, now 69, shot and killed DeMatte Oct. 12, 1976 while the officer was attempting to remove Blanks, a transient, from railroad tracks behind the then Daitch – Shopwell supermarket.
The suspect was able to gain control of Officer DeMatte’s service weapon and shot him. Dematte started to run off but Blanks pursued him and shot him in the chest.
Dematte’s teenaged daughter, Jane Dematte D’Amico, rushed to her father’s side from her job at the supermarket. She has since been one of the most vocal opponents of Blanks’ release.
Blanks tried to flee in the officer’s car, but it got stuck. He left the empty gun in the car and hid in some shrubs and was shot in the leg by responding officers.
Blanks, who had a history of mental illness, had walked from New York City after arriving there from St. Louis a few days earlier to look for a job. He said he had not eaten in two days and had taken PCP during that time.
The jury that convicted him of first-degree murder in 1978 rejected his lawyer’s argument that Blanks suffered from extreme emotional disturbance at the time of the killing. He first became eligible for parole in 2001.