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Hazmat Team Finds No Threat In Package Delivered To Pittsfield Police

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The hazmat team found no dangerous materials in the package.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A hazardous materials team found no threat in a suspicious package sent to the police station.
 
The District 5 Hazmat Team responded to headquarters Wednesday morning shortly before 11 to investigate a FedEx-delivered package that contained a medical journal hinting of virus dissemination.
 
By noon, the team found the package was not a danger.
 
"Monday afternoon a package was delivered to the Pittsfield Police Department headquarters. It didn't cause any undue alarm but once the package had been opened, the staff realized there was some inconsistencies with the addresses — both the delivery address and the alleged address of the sender," Police Chief Michael Wynn said.
 
The package originated from what appears to be a fake address out of Colorado, according to police, and was addressed to a nonexistent receptionist with the Pittsfield Police Department.
 
The address for the Police Department was also wrong. Inside, responders found newspapers, periodicals and the medical journal. The concern was that it may contain a powered substance or virus, the chief said.
 
"Shoved in the bottom of the box was an excerpt from a medical journal on virus dissemination and transmission and given the climate and culture we are working in, we thought it merited the extra precaution," Wynn said.
 
The package sat in a vacant office in the station for two days before being examined. Wynn said because of that, the station was not evacuated. 
 
"They found nothing so we never suspended operations," Wynn said.
 
The Fire Department hosts the hazmat team, which is staffed by firefighters from both North Adams and Pittsfield. The Pittsfield Fire Department also sent an engine company to the scene. 
 
"The team is originally designed for hazmat response and, through the years, our role has evolved into handling these bio, nuclear and chemical possibilities," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said. "The team is well versed in these kinds of operations."
 
The team quickly examined the package on scene and found no reason for alarm. The team has a dedicated vehicle with a number of assets to investigate such a situation. The response was a Tier 1, which means limited resources were used for the examination.
 
"They were confident that nothing was in the package," Czerwinski said. 
     

Pittsfield Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty to Murder

Staff Reports
iBerkshires

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The suspect in the shooting murder of 18-year-old Keenan S. Pellot Jr. has has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Thomas Lee Newman Jr., 18, was arraigned on Monday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court before Judge John Agostini.

Newman entered not-guilty pleas to single counts of murder, armed assault with intent to commit murder and illegal possession of a firearm, rifle or shotgun.

He is accused of killing Pellot and seriously wounding a 17-year-old boy in a midday shooting on Tyler Street on July 31, 2015.

The shooting set off a massive manhunt for Newman, who was being described as "armed and dangerous." He was arrested two days later in Utica, N.Y., and declined to fight extradition back to Pittsfield.

The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department, state police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office and state police Crime Scene Services and Firearms Identification sections.
 

     

Police ID Bodies Found In Plunkett Street Apartment

Staff Reports
Anthony Nazareth and his daughter Hannah Nazareth in a photo the father posted on Facebook.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are considering a number of possibilities that led to a father and 11-year-old daughter being found dead in their Plunkett Street home.
 
Police found the bodies of Anthony Nazareth, 47, and Hannah Nazareth, 11, inside the third-floor apartment at 72 Plunkett Street on Monday. The incident was initially feared a murder/suicide by law enforcement.
 
However, on Tuesday, District Attorney David Capeless' office said preliminary results show that the father may have died from a drug overdose and the daughter showed no signs of trauma to her body.
 
Dr. Richard Atkinson, an associate medical examiner for the state, performed an autopsy on Anthony Nazareth and the cause of death is still undetermined. Authorities say preliminary toxicological tests indicate a possibility that he had died because of a drug overdose.
 
Dr. Lindsey Emery, an associate medical examiner for the office of the medical examiner in Boston, performed an autopsy on Hannah Nazareth and found no signs of trauma to her body. Again, the cause of death remains unknown until the results of further tests are revealed. 
 
"Police are actively investigating this case and are speaking with family and friends of the Nazareths. They are considering a number of different scenarios as to what occurred inside the apartment and when it took place," reads a statement from the district attorney's office.
 
The bodies were found after police forced their way into the home at about 4 p.m. The apartment was locked from the inside, police say, but it is unclear what prompted the response.
 
For hours a section of Plunkett Street was blocked off in front of the house, which sits directly behind Berkshire Wine and Liquors near the intersection with Tyler Street, as authorities investigated the scene. The investigation is being conducted by the local and state police. The Berkshire County Sheriff's Department assisted on scene Monday night.
 
Late Monday night, the district attorney's office released a statement which read, "at this point, based upon what police have discovered, investigators fear that what occurred is a murder suicide. The matter remains under investigation and police are seeking information from family members and friends."
 
Hannah Nazareth was a student in Pittsfield Public Schools. Superintendent Jason McCandless sent an e-mail to parents saying there will be counselors at the schools to assist with children dealing with the events. 
 
"Although school is not in session, we believe that that the challenges of being a student and the challenges of being the parent or guardian of a student are great — and that as a school system — we must offer support and help in this work year round. We want to be of service to your family as you work to deal with violence and loss of life in our community as we all deal with heartbreak and loss," McCandless wrote.
 
Counselors will be available at both Morningside and Conte from 12:30 until 1, during community lunches, until next Wednesday. Parents can also have individual consultations at Morningside Community School from 1 until 3 on Thursday, Aug. 6. 

 

     

Pittsfield Police Investigating Murder-Suicide

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff

Police are investigating an apparent murder-suicide on Plunkett Street.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding an apparent murder-suicide at a Plunkett Street home.

The bodies of a 47-year-old man and his 11-year-old daughter were discovered late Monday afternoon when police conducted a wellness check at 72 Plunkett St.

Authorities were at the scene at about 4:30., blocking off a small section of the road.

Investigators were seen going in and out of both the second and third floors of the blue, three-unit home.

It appeared most of the focus was on the third floor. The Berkshire County Sheriff's Department set up its command vehicle in front of the house and multiple cruisers were moved around the area. 

Two bodies were removed from the building around 10 p.m. and loaded into the chief medical examiner's vehicle, which arrived around 9 p.m.

Authorities have declined to provide any further information, including identifying the victims or how they were killed. 

A very brief statement from the district attorney's office was released at about 10:30 stating "at this point, based upon what police have discovered, investigators fear that what occurred is a murder suicide. The matter remains under investigation and police are seeking information from family members and friends."

The home sits directly behind Berkshire Wine and Liquors, right near the intersection of Tyler Street. On both sides of the police tape, large crowds gathered. Rumors flew around the city ranging in details but mostly centered on a murder/suicide situation.

None of those at the scene reported to iBerkshires hearing or seeing anything suspicious. 

     

Suspect In Pittsfield Shooting Arrested In New York

Staff Reports
Thomas L. Newman, 18, of Pittsfield seen here in one of his Facebook photos, was arrested on Sunday in New York. He is being charged with the murder of Keenan Pellot Jr.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The suspect in Friday's fatal shooting was arrested early Sunday in Utica, N.Y.

Thomas Lee Newman Jr., 18, is being charged with the murder of Keenan S. Pellot Jr. in the Tyler Street shooting.

 
Pellot, 18, and an unnamed 17-year-old man were shot outside of Chewy's Barber Shop on Tyler Street at about 1 p.m. Friday. Pellot died from the injuries and the 17-year-old man is expected to survive.
 
Police issued an arrest warrant Saturday afternoon for Newman, charging him with single counts of murder, and armed assault with intent to murder.
 
He was arrested Sunday morning in Utica by Utica Police and federal officials.
 
Newman will appear in court on Monday in Utica, where officials will seek his rendition to Massachusetts. At Monday's court hearing, he will answer to fugitive from justice charges.
 
The Utica Police Department in a statement said it had received reports that a man matching Newman's description had been seen in the area of Francis Street in that city. Officers stopped him and took him into custody. Newman apparently has an uncle by the same name who lives in Utica.
 
Friday's daytime shooting led to a manhunt for Newman and for hours police — both state and local — tracked down reports of other shootings, sightings of Newman, and vehicles suspected to be related but to no avail. Tyler Street was shut down for blocks in both directions as police canvassed the area. 
 
A BOLO (be on the lookout) for Newman was released among law enforcement agencies over the scanner shortly after the shooting occurred, warning that Newman was "armed and dangerous" and seeking information on his whereabouts. Authorities lifted the BOLO on Sunday.
 
Thomas Newman's booking photo.
Meanwhile,a GoFundMe page has been established to help pay for the funeral costs for Pellot. The name of the other victim in the shooting has not been released.
 
Pellot and Newman had reportedly known each other since childhood but Newman had more recently been living in Johnson City, Tenn. A family member told The Berkshire Eagle that the fight was about Newman dating Pellot's sister.
 
The shooting was the second in the city this month. On July 4, Ronald Pinel was killed in a shooting on Linden Street. District Attorney David Capeless' office said on Friday that authorities have not linked the two shootings but investigators would be considering that possibility.
 
Capeless' office said recently that the July 4 shooting investigation is hampered by lack of cooperation from residents in providing information.
 
Pellott, of Bartlett Avenue, had been charged earlier this year with assault and battery after allegedly stabbing a man after vandalizing his car, purportedly with a 17-year-old accomplice, and was released on personal recognizance in early July.
 
Update: Booking photo and additional information added at 11:34 a.m. on Aug. 3.
     
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