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Eight Displaced Following Fire in Pittsfield Building

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
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The building is likely uninhabitable, which leaves eight people without a home.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Firefighters aggressively knocked down a fire in a Linden Street bedroom Monday afternoon.
 
Deputy Chief Thomas Sammons said that just before noon firefighters responded to 86 Linden Street where thick smoke was billowing out of the rear of the two-story structure. 
 
"Initial units in made an aggressive interior attack and knocked it down quick," Sammons said.
 
The fire itself was knocked down in about 10 minutes, Sammons said, but it took time to overhaul the structure.
 
After the initial knockdown firefighters had to tear open ceilings and walls to get it under control.
 
"It was pretty straightforward. We went in the rear of the structure, went in the rear stairs, and the rear stairs brought us right to the bedroom and we were able to extinguish there. There wasn't a lot of interior obstacles in our way," Sammons said.
 
Eight people lived in the building, four of which in the unit of the blaze. Sammons said the four living there were all outside at the time and the other four are accounted for. There were no injuries. The Red Cross was called to the scene.
 
Sammons expected the building to be uninhabitable following the blaze but that determination will be left to the Health Department and Building Inspectors. The cause of the fire has not been determined but investigators were called to the scene.
 
One truck company and five engines responded and Dalton brought a ladder truck to the scene. Linden Street was closed between Center and France Avenue. 
 
Sammons praised the work of the firefighters for the quick and safe response to the blaze.
 
"They were aggressive, they were safe, they did a great job, they always do a great job," Sammons said.
     

Authorities Say Police Service Weapon Used In Cromwell Ave Shooting

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police say the gun used in the shooting on Cromwell Avenue was a Police issued service weapon.
 
A woman, whom authorities continue to refuse to identify, was shot at the home of Officer Miles Barber last Wednesday. She was transported to Berkshire Medical Center following surgery and airlifted to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. 
 
The District Attorney's office has said that the preliminary investigation appears that the wound was self-inflicted. Pittsfield Police released a statement on Monday saying that the weapon used was the Glock Model 22, .40 caliber pistol that was issued to the 18-year veteran of the force.
 
The gun is now in custody of the Massachusetts State Police Firearms Identification Section pending ballistic testing.
 
Barber has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal administrative investigation. The State Police have taken over the investigation into the shooting.
 

Updated on Thursday, July 19, 2018 at 2:12 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Preliminary evidence is pointing to a self-inflicted wound in the shooting incident that occurred Wednesday on Cromwell Avenue, say authorities. 
 
At 3:09 Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsfield Police Department received a call reporting that an individual had sustained a gunshot wound at the home of an off-duty Pittsfield Police officer on Cromwell Avenue. 
 
The individual injured in the shooting, identified only as a woman by authorities, is listed in critical but stable condition at Baystate Medical Center. She was airlifted to the Springfield hospital Wednesday evening following emergency surgery at Berkshire Medical Center.
 
According to a statement from the district attorney's office, evidence collected and preliminary interviews conducted reveal that the incident is being considered a case of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, however, the investigation is still in its early stages. The investigation remains active and no further details can be released at this time.
 
The investigation is being conducted by state police detectives assigned to the district attorney’s office, the State Police Crime Scene Services and Ballistics Sections, forensic scientists assigned to the State Police Crime Laboratory. Members of the Pittsfield Police Department are also aiding, according to the statement, although Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said on Wednesday that the state police will be the lead on the investigation, and the Berkshire County sheriff's department.
 

Original post at 4:59 p.m., July 18, 2018: PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A woman was shot at the home of a city police officer on Wednesday.

 

 
The woman was taken to Berkshire Medical Center where she underwent surgery and is listed in stable condition, according to a statement from the district attorney's office. 
 
Police have not released much in the way of details but say an off-duty officer called in the shooting on Cromwell Avenue on Wednesday afternoon.
 
"At approximately 3:09 in the afternoon we received a call in the dispatch center from an off-duty police officer reporting that he found a shooting incident at his residence," Police Chief Michael Wynn said at the scene.
 
According to land records, the home at 102 Cromwell Ave. is owned by Officer Miles J. Barber but Wynn would not confirm the identity of the homeowner nor the victim.
 
A very brief statement from the district attorney's office at about 6 p.m. confirmed only the information iBerkshires' gleaned from the scene and the update on the victim's status. 
 
The woman's identity was not provided nor her relationship, if any, to Barber, or if he was the one who found her. It's also not clear what firearm was used, who owned it or how the shooting occurred. iBerkshires' has reached out to the DA's office with these questions but has been informed that no further information will be immediately released because it is an active investigation. 
 
Wynn said state police are taking over the investigation since it involves a currently active officer within Pittsfield's ranks.
 
"Based on the fact that there is a law enforcement connection, we immediately requested assistance from the state police Berkshire detective unit and the DA's office. At this point, the ongoing investigation at this scene is being conducted by the state police," he said. "We will be opening a separate administrative investigation once they get through their preliminary."
 
Wynn said there is no current threat to the public. The chief also wouldn't confirm where the officer is now.
 
District Attorney Paul Caccaviello was also there but did not speak to the press.
     

Vermont Motorcyclist Injured in Pittsfield Collision

Staff Reports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Vermont motorcyclist was injured Thursday afternoon after colliding with a pickup truck.
 
Police say just before 1:30 in the afternoon, John Bailey, 56, of Cheshire turned out of Unistress on Cheshire Road and collided with the northbound motorcyclist Cassius Bradford, of Stamford, Vt.
 
Bradford was transported to Berkshire Medical Center with injuries to his arms and legs "that appeared serious but non-life threatening," according to police. Bailey was not injured.
 
Pittsfield Police was assisted at the scene by the Massachusetts State Police and Lanesborough Police. It remains under investigation by the traffic unit and Police are asking anyone who may have seen the accident or the actions of the motorcycle prior to the collision to contact Office David Hallas at 413-448-9700 ext. 379.
     

Three Charged in Murder of Pittsfield's Asiyanna Jones

Staff Reports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Three individuals have been indicted by a grand jury on murder charges for the death of Asiyanna Jones.
 
Josiaiah Bynum, 20, Carey Pilot, 45, and Gary Linen, 38, all of Pittsfield, are each being charged with single counts of first-degree murder. The three are expected to be arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court soon.
 
The three are accused of shooting the 22-year-old Jones on Dewey Avenue on Oct. 2, 2017. Jones was found shot in the head inside a motor vehicle shortly before 11 p.m.that night. She was flown to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield and pronounced dead at about 4 a.m. the next morning.
 
Reportedly, the shots went through the windshield of the vehicle that Jones was sitting in with another woman. The driver immediately took Jones to Berkshire Medical Center. 
 
Two weeks later, Bynum was arraigned on weapons and assault charges and, at the time, police were searching for Linen. A few days before Bynum's arrest, Justin Crawford, 20, was arrested and police said they found a handgun that was involved on the Oct. 2 shooting. Shots were reportedly exchanged that night between two opposing parties.
 
Jones was a graduate of Pittsfield High School and had been a child-care worker at the Berkshire Family YMCA. She was recently employed at Hillcrest Educational Center.
     

Pittsfield Businessman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Greylock Credit Union

Staff Reports
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city real estate developer pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Springfield of defrauding Greylock Federal Credit Union.
 
Jeffrey Pierce, 51, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to receive money through transactions of a credit union with intent to defraud the credit union and make false statements to a federal credit union.
 
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, between 2005 and 2008 a former Greylock Federal Credit Union vice president authorized some $4 million in loans and loan modifications to Pierce and his five real estate development companies. 
 
While the office didn't name the banker on Wednesday, in 2014 Michael Dicenzo pleaded guilty to related charges in the case. Dicenzo worked at Greylock as a commercial loan officer from 2004 until 2009 and faced eight counts of fraud and a single count of making false statements to federal officials.
 
The loans issued to Pierce were in violation of the credit union's policies and caused the credit union to release funds "far in excess of what Pierce and his companies could reasonably receive or repay," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. 
 
In exchange, the U.S. Attorney's Office alleges Pierce agreed to provide the former vice president with $134,773 in check payments to a "front company" created by the Greylock employee — those payments derived from Greylock loans —  free use of a home constructed by Pierce's companies, and free use of a vehicle — also purchased with Greylock loans. 
 
In 2010, Pierce is accused of falsely stating to Greylock that the money paid from his company to the  "front company" were payments for design work that the vice president's wife provided to Pierce for construction projects. Law enforcement said those statements were made based on the urging of the former vice president. 
 
The conspiracy charge against Pierce carries a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release. U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni scheduled sentencing for Oct. 3, 2018.
     
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