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Pittsfield Police Seeking Suspect in Fatal Tyler St. Shooting
By Andy McKeever On: 01:29PM / Friday July 31, 2015
Police are investigating a shooting on Tyler Street this afternoon that sent two people to the hospital.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Friday's shooting has been confirmed as a fatal with the death of 18-year-old  Keenan S. Pellot Jr.

Pellot, of Pittsfield, was one of two victims taken to Berkshire Medical Center after shots were fired outside Chewy's Barber Shop on Tyler Street early Friday afternoon.

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 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 Thomas Lee 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."

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. He would not confirm if police were seeking Newman.

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."

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. 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. to update with name of victim, write-through note updates.



     
Police Seek Public's Help to Solve Pittsfield July 4 Shootings
Staff Reports On: 02:05PM / Wednesday July 22, 2015
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 On: 12:43PM / Tuesday July 21, 2015

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.


     
Three Charged in Pittsfield Drug Raid
Staff Reports On: 05:37PM / Friday July 17, 2015

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two men will be arraigned Monday in Central Berkshire District Court following an early morning raid on Friday.

Eric Moore, 29, of 237 Dewey Ave. and Deng J. Vilayvanh, 25, of Suffield Street in Worcester are facing drug and firearms charges.

A third man, Darian N. Chambers, 21, also of 237 Dewey, was arrested and charged with possession of a stun gun. He was released on personal recognizance.

Police executed a search warrant at 237 Dewey at about 7 a.m. on Friday morning. Police say they found cocaine, heroin and firearms.

Moore is being charged with single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of heroin with intent to distribute (2nd offense), conspiracy to violate drug laws, being an armed career criminal, commission of a felony while armed and improper storage of a firearm with access to a minor.  

He is being held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $100,000 bail.  

Vilayvanh is being charged with single counts of commission of a felony while armed, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number during the commission of a felony, improper storage of a firearm with access to a minor, manufacturing cocaine, possession of cocaine and conspiracy to violate drug laws.  

He is being held on $20,000 bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction.  

Moore and Vilayvanh are scheduled to appear in Central Berkshire District Court at 9 a.m. on Monday for arraignment. Chambers has been summonsed to appear in court at a later date.     

The house is not far from the corner of Linden Street, where a local man was shot to death on July 4. The incident also injured four other people. No one has yet been charged in that shooting.

In the wake of the shooting, police have stepped up patrols in the Westside neighborhood.

The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield, Dalton and Adams police departments, the Berkshire County sheriff's office and state troopers assigned to the district attorney's office, members of the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force.



     
Pittsfield Firefighters Busy With Third Fire in 24 Hours
By Andy McKeever On: 09:57AM / Tuesday June 23, 2015

 
Firefighters tackled two fires on Tuesday: an apartment fire on Columbus Avenue (above) and a house fire at 20 Larch St.

Updated at 11:58 a.m. with third fire report.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City firefighters are being kept on their toes this week. The department's dealt with three structures fires in 24 hours.

"We certainly have days we have structure fires, but to get three in a 24-hour period is kind of unusual for us," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said right after his crews snuffed out an apartment fire on Tuesday morning. "The guys held up very well, they're not ready to call it quits yet."

The chief did not think there was a pattern to the fires.

"It all seems to be accidental," he said, with "nothing incendiary."

On Monday at about 11:30 a.m. firefighters snuffed out a structure fire at 15 Miller St., which is off Lakeway Drive.

On Tuesday, at about 8:30, firefighters put out a blaze on the other side of the city, at 20 Larch St.; two hours later, they were at 297 Columbus Ave. dealing with the grease fire

"It came in as a kitchen fire, heavy smoke on arrival," Czerwinski said. "We had a kitchen burning on the third floor, Apt. 9 in a 11-unit building." 

The fire was knocked down fairly quickly but the family - two adults and four children - were displaced. The Red Cross was expected at the scene shortly to help them. No one was injured and no other apartments were affected.

"We're pretty confident [it was a cooking fire]," he said. "The occupants told us what happened."

It was a little less clear how the fire at 20 Larch St. began.

"Fire crews arrived at 20 Larch St. a little before 9 o'clock this morning. They found heavy fire coming out of the back kitchen area. They made an aggressive attack to the indoors and knocked that fire down," Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said.

"There was some extension into the living area and some down into the basement."

By 9 a.m., crews had already put out the blaze, which Czerwinski said appears to have started in the kitchen. He said nobody was home at the time and the neighbors called in the blaze when they saw flames and smoke coming through the rear windows.

"This was cooking for a little while before it was discovered," Czerwinski said.

That structure fire nearly caused the closure of Merrill Road. Fire officials said they considered closing Merrill Road but ultimately determined they didn't need access to the fire hydrant.

"They called extra resources in," Czerwinski said, of what came close to being a two-alarm fire. "There are probably 14, 15 firefighters here."

There is smoke and heat damage throughout the home, he said, but the fire itself was mostly contained in the rear of the building. According to land records, the home is owned by Alliance Properties LLC. 

Later, Deputy Andrew Stephenson reported that two adults and three children were displaced. The Red Cross was being called to assist them with finding lodging. 


Czerwinski said fire inspectors will hopefully determine the cause by the end of the day.

On Monday, a woman was displaced from her Miller Street home after a first-floor couch caught on fire. Luckily, one of the city's deputy chiefs live across the street and when his wife noticed the smoke, she quickly called 911.

"She knew what to call in and what to say so they knew there was fire," Czerwinski said.

Again, in short order firefighters contained the blaze that had spread from the first floor up to the attic in the rear of the building.

"They think that was caused by careless smoking. The fire appeared to have originated from a couch on the first floor," Czerwinski said.

The homeowner, Margaret Anne Miller, was not home at the time and she is currently displaced from the home. Czerwinski said that fire is still under investigation.



     
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