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Two Students Arrested at Different Schools with Loaded Weapons

Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A high school student and a college student were found with loaded weapons this week after each created a disturbance at their respective campuses.

On Tuesday night, a Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts student was arrested at the North Adams campus after becoming belligerent during an evening class. Chris LaFrance, 25, was allegedly intoxicated when campus police pepper sprayed him; upon arresting him, police said they found a loaded handgun on his person. While reportedly licensed to carry a firearm, LaFrance is facing a number of charges related to the incident and the public school where he had been training was apprised of his arrest and terminated his participation.

Pittsfield school officials say a Taconic High School student was arrested Thursday morning for creating a disturbance and a loaded gun was found on his person.

At no point was the weapon made visible to any student or staff member at Taconic, according to officials.

The Taconic administration said it is working with the Pittsfield Police Department to further investigate the matter.  

"Principal Vosburgh and his staff followed Pittsfield Public School safety protocol to the letter. School administration and Pittsfield Police effectively took all appropriate measures to efficiently address the situation and safeguard the school community," said Mayor Daniel Bianchi in a statement. "I am confident in Dr. McCandless' leadership and the professionalism of school staff as we continue to collaborate with community partners."

McCandless, Pittsfield Public Schools superintendent, said safety protocols are in place at all schools and are practiced regularly. The school community and parents will be kept informed, he said.

"The safety and concern of our students is the highest priority. All schools in the district have safety response protocols and procedures in place. Families are encouraged to partner with the school administration regarding any information that could be of assistance to help continue to maintain a safe and secure environment," according to a press release from City Hall.

     

Third Man Found Guilty in Pittsfield Triple Murder

Staff Reports
Caius Veiovis from his mugshot in 2011.

UPDATED Sept. 29, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.

Hampden Superior Court Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder on Monday afternoon ordered that Caius Vieovus serve consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the charges of murder in the first degree against David Glasser, Edward Frampton and Robert Chadwell.

He was given concurrent eight- to 10-year sentences on the other charges.


PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The third man accused in a triple killing in 2011 was found guilty of first-degree murder on Friday afternoon.

Caius Veiovis, also known as Roy Gutfinski, 34, was found guilty by a jury in Hampden Superior Court.

The jury deliberated for about 36 1/2 hours over a six-day period before returning its verdict of guilty on three three counts of murder in the first degree, three counts of kidnapping and three counts of intimidation of a witness or other person.

Judge C. Jeffrey Kinder ordered that Veiovis be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction without the right to bail pending sentencing that will occur Monday at 2 p.m. in the Hampden court.

The jury found that Veiovis kidnapped and then killed 44-year-old David Glasser, 58-year-old Edward Frampton and 47-year-old Robert Chadwell. The three Pittsfield men were last seen at a Pittsfield apartment shared by Glasser and Frampton on Aug. 28, 2011. Their dismembered bodies were found in Becket that September.

Glasser was set to testify against Adam Lee Hall, 34, in a drug case.

Hall, of Peru, the primary defendant, was found guilty and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without the chance at parole. David Chalue, 47, of North Adams, was also found guilty of murder, kidnapping and intimidation of a witness in the highly publicized murders.

David Casey, 62, of Canaan, N.Y., is facing multiple charges of accessory after the fact for allegedly providing the equipment to bury the three bodies. He testified against Veiovis, Hall and Chalue at their trials.

All three were tried in Hampden County after defense attorneys convinced Kinder that the extensive coverage of the slayings in Berkshire County would prevent a fair trial.

The investigation was conducted by the Berkshire Detective Unit assigned to the District attorney's office and the Pittsfield Police Department. They were assisted by the FBI, the Berkshire County sheriff's office and members of the Berkshire County Drug Task Force.

     

Teenager Shot in Pittsfield; One Juvenile Arrested

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The O'Connell's convenience  store was closed Monday morning while police investigated.

UPDATED: Tuesday, August 19 at 9:24 a.m.

Police say they are no longer searching for another suspect. However, they are still looking for witnesses.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 17-year-old man was shot at the intersection of First and Tyler Streets on Monday morning.

One juvenile has been arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

Police have not released the name of the suspects or the victim.

Police say officers responded to the reports of shots being fired shortly before 9 a.m. A nearby ambulance was "flagged down" and a 17-year-old victim was taken to nearby Berkshire Medical Center, where he underwent surgery.
 
Police, with the Berkshire County sheriff's department and state police, launched a search for two suspects who had fled on foot.
 
According to scanner reports, a K-9 unit was asked to meet with state police near the scene for an article search at about 10:30 a.m.
 
The O'Connell's convenience store and gas station at that intersection was roped off with police tape and closed for several hours; a section of nearby Bradford Street was also blocked off.
 
On Stoddard Avenue, police were outside of a green and white duplex where the porch, too, had been roped off. Possible witnesses were being interviewed near the home.
 
Police believe at least two more people were involved in the shooting and are asking any one with information to contact the Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.
     

Pittsfield Home Struck By Lightning

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lightning stuck an Onota Street home Tuesday night, setting it on fire and damaging the electrical systems.
 
According to Deputy Chief Michael Polidoro, three engines responded to a structure fire at 24 Onota St. and upon arrival found a small fire. Firefighters quickly snuffed out the blaze, which damaged the exterior siding and the utilities on the two-family structure.
 
Onota Street was closed to traffic from West Street to Schuyler Street for more than an hour while three engines, Police, Berkshire Gas, the building inspector and Western Mass Electric Co. responded in the thunderstorm. 
 
The lightning struck the home at about 9:30 p.m.
     

Pittsfield Police Release Cause Of Fatal Crash at PHS

Staff Reports
The car was seen speeding through the intersection of Second and East Streets.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police say the driver of the car that slammed into the front of Pittsfield High School in January was high on PCP.
 
The January crash killed Tariq Sally, 34, and Ernest Duck Jr., 37.
 
The two were in a white 2013 Nassan Altima, owned by Hertz Corp., that was traveling more than 100 mph through the Second Street intersection when it slammed into the wall outside of the school. 
 
Police on Wednesday said toxicology showed the driver, Duck, was found to have phencyclidine (PCP) and marijuana in his system. PCP is commonly mixed with marijuana and has hallucinogenic properties. 
 
Duck reportedly had 270 nanograms per milliliter in his system, police say, and studies from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that patients with half that dosage have shown psychotic behavior — such as mania, depression and schizophrenia.
 
"Based upon all available evidence, it is apparent that the cause of the crash is the fact that Mr. Duck Jr. was under the influence of PCP and was not able to safely operate a motor vehicle," according to the police report.
 
Police have also ruled out that the vehicle itself was defective. Police say the vehicle was being actively steered and was negotiated through traffic as it approached East Street. The vehicle's airbag control recorded no diagnostic trouble codes for any component of the throttle or braking system. The vehicle accelerated for the five seconds leading to the crash with only some last second braking, police said.
 
Duck was not wearing a seat belt at the time; Salley was.
 
Witnesses also attested that the vehicle was not being chased, despite multiple rumors following the crash that they were.
 
The crash not only triggered a massive response from the police and fire departments but also fueled an array of rumors as to what led to the crash. Police had suspicions then of the cause but hadn't released any information until this week, after medical examination reports were returned.
 
Because of a large influx of family and friends of the victims descending on the hospital at the time, Berkshire Medical Center implemented additional security measures, which fueled even more speculation.
 
Hospital officials at the time said some secondary doors were locked earlier than normal and the Berkshire County sheriff's department assisted hospital security in ensuring access during the "considerable influx" of people to the emergency room.
     
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