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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.

Arrest Warrant Issued For Fatal Tyler Street Shooting

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
Police are searching for Thomas 'SoSavage' Newman, left,  in relation to Friday afternoon's shooting on Tyler Street that left Keenan S. Pellot Jr. dead and another teen seriously injured. Newman is considered armed and dangerous.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The District Attorney's Office has issued an arrest warrant for Thomas Lee Newman for the murder of Keenan S. Pellot Jr.

The 18-year-old Pellot and an unnamed 17-year-old man were shot outside of Chewy's Barber Shop on Friday afternoon. Pellot died at Berkshire Medical Center shortly after.

Newman was apparently an acquaintance of Pellott; the two were Facebook friends.

The second victim, a 17-year-old Pittsfield man, is undergoing surgery for multiple gunshots wounds, according to a statement from the district attorney's office. He is in "guarded condition" and expected to survive.

The first responders found the two men with what appeared to be multiple gunshot wounds when the first calls were received about a shooting at about 1:02 p.m.

"Investigators are following up on information and leads they have obtained," said Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless in the statement. "At this time, no determination has been made as to whether there is a connection between these incidents and the shootings that occurred on July 4, but that is obviously an avenue that investigators are pursuing."

Friday's shooting took place a block away from where a 17-year-old man was shot just one year ago. It is the second shooting in the city this month.

Police were canvassing the city in a massive manhunt for a man suspected in the shootings.

A BOLO (be on the lookout) came over the scanner for the 18-year-old Newman, 18, who has had previous run-ins with authorities. At least twice, Newman is listed in the police log has having an outstanding warrant. There is no indication what the warrant was for.

The BOLO reports that Newman should be approached with caution because he is considered "armed and dangerous."

On Saturday, District Attorney David Capeless issued an arrest warrant  for Newman and is seeking information on his whereabouts. Newman is being charged with murder and armed assault with intent to commit murder.

Police Chief Michael Wynn at 2:40 p.m. said dispatch received multiple calls just after 1 p.m. of shots fired in the 100 block on Tyler Street.

He confirmed that two victims had been taken to Berkshire Medical Center; authorities had not released the name or conditions of the victims at that time. 

Police and other emergency responders descended on Tyler Street at the corner of First Street, shutting down the eastbound turn lane at that intersection. State police and the sheriff's office are assisting; both Capeless and Mayor Daniel Bianchi were at the command center. The city's youth violence prevention coordinator, Adams Hinds, also was there for a time.

Pittsfield Detective Kim Bertelli is the lead on the case; anyone with information is asked to contact her at 413-448-9700,  Ext. 305.

"This isn't a normal situation, it doesn't happen often," said Bianchi. "We have a great group of law enforcement officers working on this."

Scanner reports initially indicated one person was hit on Tyler Street and another possible shooting occurred on Myrtle Street. The reports were heard over the scanner at about 1:15 p.m.

For more than an hour, police had been tracking down multiple reports of other shootings, sightings of the suspect or others who may be related to the incidents. They are searching for several different vehicles, although it is not clear if any of those were involved in the shooting.

Wynn said the investigation is very much active and was unable to provide more information at this time. He said he had not been briefed on the reported shots heard on Hull Avenue.

The mayor is asking anyone who has any knowledge to step forward.

"I just urge all citizens if they have any knowledge to please share it," he said. "I urge them to share it with the law enforcement officers working on this.

"There are a lot of good people who can't provide information ... but there are some that may be able to help."

A GoFundMe page has been established to help pay for the funeral costs for Keenan Pellot.

Police in the past have been stymied by a lack of cooperation in tracking down violent suspects. Just last week, Capeless pleaded with residents to come forward with any information related to the deadly shootings on July 4. No one has been arrested in that shooting that left a city man dead.

When asked, Bianchi on Friday afternoon did not link Friday's event with that of July 4, but acknowledged that "these things don't happen in a vacuum."

"Until we really allow the law enforcement officers to fully investigate this, we won't have any other answers," he said.

Pellot, 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.

A large crowd friends and relatives of the victims had been at BMC during the afternoon, some in tears. The hospital also instituted its safety protocols in light of the incident, and its proximity, said BMC spokesman Michael Leary.

"Whenever there is an incident in the community, particularly if such an incident occurs in close proximity to the medical center, we enact enhanced security measures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff," he said.

Edited at 2:55 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2015 to clarify the BOLO was heard over the scanner and Chief Wynn did not confirm who police were looking for; at 3:16 to add Mayor Bianchi's comments.

Edited at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 31, 2015 to update with name of victim, write-through note updates.

Edited at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, 2015 with new information on the issuance of an arrest warrant.


Police Seek Public's Help to Solve Pittsfield July 4 Shootings

Staff Reports
Robbins Avenue was the location of a drive-by shooting that wounded three people.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are having trouble getting to the bottom of the July 4 shooting that left one dead and four injured and are seeking information from the public.
"Despite the extensive efforts of the many investigators from various agencies working together, we are still stymied by a lack of cooperation from people whom we believe have information vital to determining who was involved and what their motives were," reads a statement from District Attorney David Capeless released on Wednesday.
"Multiple shooters were involved and five people were wounded, one fatally. Gunplay and street violence are abhorrent to any community, but silence is their ally. Please help us, and help the Pittsfield community," 
Capeless's office has been mum on releasing details about the shooting during the investigation. In Wednesday's statement, however, the office did release some new information regarding the incidents.
That night there were two shootings in the area. Shortly before 11 p.m., a drive-by shooting occurred on Robbins Avenue. A group of individuals were gathered outside of a home there and three of them — two men and one woman — were wounded.
Soon after, a second shooting occurred in a vacant lot on Linden Street, just around the corner from the drive-by shooting. In that incident, multiple shots were fired and Ronald Pinel, 25, of Pittsfield, was killed. Two others were wounded, one of whom had already been wounded in the earlier incident.
Police say they recovered two handguns and "multiple items of ballistic and other forensic evidence." But after interviewing more than 50 people, they have received little cooperation and information.
"The investigative efforts of both the Pittsfield Police and the Massachusetts State Police have been extensive in working these cases. However, those efforts are hampered when residents have information that they are unwilling to share with investigators," Police Chief Michael Wynn said in a statement.
"The most efficient tool that we have to increase neighborhood safety is to remove violent offenders from neighborhoods. We rely on the community to assist us in those efforts, and encourage anyone with any information related to either of these incidents to contact investigators."
The district attorney's office is again asking anyone with information to contact the Police Department's detective bureau at 413-448-9705.

Pittsfield Police Investigating Death At McKay Street Garage

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating a death at the McKay Street parking garage but little information has been released.

iBerkshires.com has confirmed with police that there is a "death investigation" at the garage.
A spokesman from the district attorney's office said police are still in the initial phases of investigation and no information is being released at this moment. 
This is the second fatal incident to be investigated at the garage in the last year.
In September, an elderly man from Lee was found injured at the bottom of a staircase at the garage and later died.
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