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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."
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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.


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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.

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Superior Court Briefs: May 3 - May 11

Staff Reports
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Tuesday, May 3.
 
Joseph Wiggins Jr., 39, of Pittsfield pleaded guilty to single counts of possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card and armed career felon.
 
He was ordered to serve four to five years at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction on the armed career felony change and given concurrent two-year sentences at the Berkshire County House of Correction on the other charge. His sentence will begin on June 2, 2016.
 
The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on his home in Pittsfield on May 8, 2015.
 
James Swift, 55, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery on a disabled person, and caretaker abuse on a disabled person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Swift is accused of assaulting a student while he worked at Eagleton School on January 1, 2016.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, May 4.
 
Brian Baras, 29, of Canaan, Conn. had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of heroin with intent to distribute - his second offense. 
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. The charge stems from an incident in Sheffield on March 8, 2015.
 
Michael Nash, 28, of Pittsfield had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $2,500 bail. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant at his home on March 25, 2016.
 
Nathan Tatro, 42, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of intimidation of a witness.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $15,000 bail. Tatro is accused of intimidating two people in a pending criminal matter between February 22, 2016 and April 17, 2016 in North Adams.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Thursday, May 5.
 
Max Bohgan, 25, of Pittsfield had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail. The charges stem from an incident in Pittsfield on March 10, 2016.
 
Caleb Sherman, 23, of Adams had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, strangulation or suffocation, assault and battery, threat to commit a crime, and malicious destruction of personal property.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. Sherman is accused of assaulting a 21-year-old man in Adams on March 11, 2016.
 
Tyler Sherman, 23, of Cheshire had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, strangulation or suffocation, assault and battery, and malicious destruction of personal property.
 
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $5,000 bail. Sherman is accused of assaulting a 21-year-old man in Adams on March 11, 2016.
 
James Yeaman, 61, of Lee had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf on a single count of misleading a police officer or other person.
 
He was released on personal recognizance. Yeaman is accused of giving a false statement to court officials on June 26, 2013 while employed at Eagleton School.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Monday, May 9.
 
Glendaliz Rios, 33, of North Adams had not guilty pleas entered on her behalf on single counts of conspiracy to violate drug laws to wit: possession of heroin with intent to distribute, and being present where heroin is kept.
 
She was released on one-year probation. The charges stem from the execution of a search warrant on her home on April 13, 2015.  A single count of inducing or abetting a minor to distribute controlled substances was dismissed by the state.
 
Cases heard before Judge John Agostini on Wednesday, May 11.
 
Heather Shurtleff, 39, of Adams was found guilty by a jury of a single count of reckless endangerment of a child.
 
She was ordered to be held without bail until sentencing on Monday, May 16, 2016. The charge stems from an incident in Adams involving a girl who is now 18 years old between February 6, 2011 and May, 20, 2014. Shurtleff was found not guilty on a single count of intimidation of a witness.
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Adams Police Warn of Car Break-ins

ADAMS, Mass. — The Adams Police Department is currently investigating several car break-ins. These have occurred over the past several days during the evening or early morning hours.

The breaks have involved mostly unlocked vehicles. If you have any information regarding these breaks please contact police at 413-743-1212.

Here are some safety tips to help prevent car break-ins:

  • Always lock your car doors.
  • Keep the windows and sunroofs closed when the vehicle is not in use.
  • Do not leave the vehicle running and unlocked. Even a locked and running vehicle presents the opportunity for theft.
  • Do not leave anything of value in plain sight.
  • Do not leave packages or store purchases inside the car. Lock them in the trunk or cover them in the cargo area of your SUV.
  • Park your vehicle in a well-lit or open area.
  • Report any suspicious activity when and where it is occurring. Do not wait until the next day to report it.

There are no "fool proof" ways of totally preventing car break-ins, said Police Chief Richard Tarsa Jr. However, if you take the extra steps it limits the opportunity of it happening to you.

 

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