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Pittsfield Police Investigating Series Of Shootings

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Sections of Wahconah Street and Peck's Road were shut down for more than an hour Thursday afternoon in response to reports of gunfire.
Police arrested 34-year-old Patrick Coyne "after a brief pursuit" and charged him with carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, and being armed career criminal. He is being held at the Pittsfield Police Department pending arraignment on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court. Police say additional charges may be forthcoming. 
There were no injuries in Thursday's incident.
"Evidence of the shooting was located on Peck's Road and in a nearby back yard. The scene was processed by members of the Pittsfield Police Crime Scene Service Unit," police wrote in a statement.
According to reports on the scanner, police were looking for a man who was shooting a gun in the Wahconah Street area. The man was reportedly walking on Peck's Road. Police soon had Coyne in custody and found a gun in a nearby location, according to scanner reports. 
State police, the Berkshire County sheriff's office and Pittsfield Police shut down Wahconah Street from the ball park to Alcove Street and Peck's Roads from the intersection with Wahconah to just past the fire station shortly before 2 p.m. on Thursday. The roads were reopened shortly after 3 p.m.

The Pittsfield School Department delayed the dismissal of walking students from Reid Middle School to avoid interfering with the evidence search at the intersection of Wahconah, Peck's and Pontoosuc Avenue. 

The shooting is just the latest in a seeming uptick in gun activity.
On Wednesday just before 9 p.m., police received a report of shots fired in the area of Second Street and Pond Street. There an adult man was found suffering from a single gunshot wound. The injuries were reported as "non-life threatening." 
An hour and a half later, there was another report of shots being fired on Dartmouth Street. No injuries were reported but a vehicle was found to have been damaged by a bullet. 
On Saturday, a gunman was arrested near Berkshire Medical Center after a shooting on Hull Avenue, which put the hospital on lockdown.
Police Chief Michael Wynn said on Thursday that it is too early to tell if the three reports of shots fired on Wednesday night and Thursday morning are related. The BMC incident appears to have been unrelated, the chief said.
"Based on the information available to us at this time, the other three incidents all appear to have been targeted, not random. As I stated at the community meeting, any violent crime is concerning, but these incidents are not directed at the public in general. Unfortunately, there is a risk of someone being in the area of one of these incidents and being inadvertently injured," Wynn wrote in an email on Thursday.
A little over two weeks ago, a 17-year-old man was shot on Bartlett Avenue, which triggered a community meeting held by the Wards 4 and 5 city councilors. There Wynn said the shootings were among known gang members and he, as well as other officers, asked the public to "see something, say something." He expanded on that Thursday by saying that in addition to reporting suspicious activity, families and peers of individuals heading down a violent path can help police intervene.
"I just attended an FBI briefing in which the agent stated that peers and family members are the most likely to see things or hear statements that indicate that an individual is on a trajectory toward violence. The most important thing that the community can do is let us know if they have any indication that someone has the intention or the means to engage in this type of activity. We would prefer to intervene before they carry out a violent act," Wynn said.
As for the current cases, Wynn wrote that police are "devoting every available resource to working these cases." 
"We have authorized shift commanders to redeploy their resources based on reported activity and to request additional resources to their shifts as they see fit. Our investigative units are also aggressively working these cases," Wynn wrote.
Mayor Linda Tyer issued a statement on Facebook regarding the incidents, promising that the city is using "every available resource" to get control of the violence.
"This is hard. Really hard. I know how upsetting the ongoing gang and gun violence is to all of you. I'm distressed, too. Please be assured that every available resource is being deployed and a great deal of advance planning is constantly taking place to proactively engage in these very serious circumstances," she wrote. 
"I understand that you'd like to have the details about police strategy. Unfortunately, when we release that kind of information to the public it also becomes available to those we pursue. I'm determined to get this under control and I need your help. See something, know something, say something. And I'll say this, too, even before I became mayor I had a great deal of respect for our police department. Since taking office my respect and admiration for their diligence, strategy, and commitment to keeping us safe has grown immensely. Without their persistence our situation would be much worse. Let's be on their side."

Pittsfield Police Respond to 3 Rollovers in Less Than 24 Hours

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There have been three rollovers in the city in less than 24 hours.
Police say the first rollover accident in the vicinity of 77 Second St. "appears to involve two vehicles, one parked and one being operated by a 29-year-old male from Pittsfield."
That was reported just before 11 p.m. on Tuesday night. Police said there does not appear to have been any serious injuries, that the accident is still under investigation, and "information is limited at this point."
An hour later, a second rollover occurred in the area of West Street and Eleanor Road. 
"The operator of this vehicle fled the scene of the accident and was not located. The accident is still under investigation," police wrote in an email. 
In both incidents, vehicles were towed from the scene.
"The two accidents one hour apart tied up numerous Pittsfield Fire Department and Pittsfield Police Department units for the better part of two hours," police said.
On Wednesday morning, first responders again were called for a rollover motor vehicle accident. Police posted on Facebook shortly after 9 a.m. a two-car crash, leaving one vehicle on its roof, at the intersection of Bartlett Avenue and Taconic Street. 
"Officers arrived within moments of the call and assisted with several patients until EMS arrived. Thankfully no serious injuries were reported. Remember to stop at all stop signs," police wrote on Facebook.


Pittsfield Police Apprehend Shooting Suspect Who Forced BMC Lockdown

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police apprehended a man suspected in a possible shooting incident around noontime Saturday that led to a brief lockdown of Berkshire Medical Center.

Dylan Ducharme, 20, of Pittsfield is being charged with several criminal counts, including discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

According Sgt. John Soules, patrol officers responded to the report of shots fired at about 11:43 a.m. in the Hull Avenue area, about two blocks from BMC.

They were told that the suspect had fled on foot toward Berkshire Medical Center; other witnesses told police he was seen entering the Medical Arts Complex on the hospital campus.

As a result, BMC was briefly placed on lockdown status while officers searched the building. While the lockdown was in progress and the building was being searched, police received additional information that the suspect may be in a vehicle in the area of Second Street. Officers assisted by state police responded to that location, located the suspect and vehicle, initiated a motor vehicle stop and placed Ducharme under arrest without incident.

Ducharme is charged with three counts of assault by means of a dangerous weapon, discharging the firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm, and assault and battery.

Evidence recovered from the scene confirmed a shooting had taken place, according to police. Pittsfield Police were assisted by members of the state police, Berkshire County sheriff's office, and the Berkshire County Special Response Team.

The incident is currently under investigation. Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the Detective Bureau at 413-448-9705.


Pittsfield Police Cruiser Involved in Collision

PITTSFIELD. Mass. — An on-duty police officer was involved in a motor vehicle accident Thursday evening at the intersection of First and Fenn streets.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the accident occurred as the officer was traveling eastbound at about 6:32 p.m. on Fenn Street in a marked cruiser. It has not determined if any emergency equipment was in use at the time.

As the officer proceeded across the First Street intersection, a collision occurred with a 2014 Ford F-150, traveling southbound on First Street. The operator of the Ford F-150 was a 29-year-old Lee man. The involved officer was transported to Berkshire Medical Center where he was treated and expected to be released this evening. The operator of the F-150 declined treatment at the scene.

The accident remains under investigation by the Accident Reconstruction Unit and the Pittsfield Police Department is asking any witnesses to contact Lt. Jeffrey Bradford at 413-448-9700.


Pittsfield Police: Reports Of Luring Attempts At Reid Proved False

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Reports that someone had been trying to lure Reid Middle School students into a van in March have proved to be false.
Police released a statement on Wednesday saying one of the alleged victims admitted the story was fake and no attempt had occurred.
On March 23, two girls reported that a man in a blue van attempted to lure them into it as they walked to school. The investigation "brought to light several inconsistencies in the victim's statements," police said. 
"When confronted with the contradictory evidence, one victim's family declined to participate in the investigation any further, and the other female declined to respond in a way that would explain why her story did not match contradictory evidence. At this time, it appears both reports were false and that there was no actual incident involving a blue van," police wrote in a statement.
Five days later another report was made by a juvenile man who reported that a man in a white pickup truck told him to get in as the student left the school. Again police found contradictory evidence and ultimately the alleged victim "admitted that the story was a fabrication and that no luring attempt had taken place."
The reports of some one trying to lure students trigger alarm among parents and school officials. The School Department issued a call asking for parents to pick up their children at the school and to be aware of the events. 
"In both cases, the members of the Pittsfield Public School system and the Pittsfield Police Department worked closely together to ensure the safety of our children and our community. Incidents of this nature are given the highest priority over other matters and require a great deal of our finite manpower resources to investigate. We would ask that parents of school age children take this opportunity to discuss the importance of being truthful when reporting incidents or interacting with the police," the statement reads.
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