North Adams Man Charged With Attempted Murder
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Chase Avenue man is accused of attempted murder of his wife after allegedly "bashed her head in."
Michael Cook Sr., 42, of Chase Avenue was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court on single counts of assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, and assault and battery on a family or household member, according to the district attorney's office.
Judge Jennifer Tyne ordered Cook to be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on July 17. Cook's wife was treated for life-threatening injuries at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.
According to court documents filed by the North Adams Police, Cook allegedly called 911 at 1:08 a.m. asking for dispatch to send an ambulance. When responding officers arrived Cook allegedly told them "I committed a pretty bad crime."
In the bedroom, officers found his wife bleeding from a head injury, rocking back and forth, and was not responding to verbal stimuli. Police claim she had "coagulated blood on her head and the back of her head was actively bleeding." There was a large wound on the back of her head.
Blood would found on a dresser, which Police think could have been used as a weapon.
Police put pressure on the wound until an ambulance arrived. Police say she was transported to Berkshire Medical Center and later to Baystate, where she underwent life-saving surgery. Police say she is in critical condition in intensive care after suffering a skull fracture and placed in a coma.
Police say Cook admitted to the crime on the scene saying "I just snapped for a minute."
According to court records, Cook has a history of domestic violence. In 2015, he was charged with assault and battery after allegedly assaulting his wife. That case was dismissed. In 2016, his wife had filed for a restraining order against him, claiming he assaulted her multiple times and mentally abused her.
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Escaped Inmate Taken Into Custody On Robbins Avenue
PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Harry Chandler Jr. was taken into custody at an apartment on Robbins Avenue Thursday, after almost exactly three days on the run.
The Berkshire County Sheriff's Office, Hampden County Sheriff's Office, Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, and Pittsfield Police apprehended Chandler inside the apartment at 3 Robbins Ave. around 2:30 in the afternoon with no incident. Chandler had been on the run since Monday when he overpowered a Sheriff's deputy and escaped from Berkshire Medical Center.
"This puts a lot of stress on our department, our agencies, the mayor of the city of Pittsfield, the district attorney's office. It puts a lot of stress on the city of Pittsfield. Having this positive end result puts a lot of anxiety to rest and it feels good," Sheriff Thomas Bowler said at a press conference Thursday.
The 33-year-old had been arrested on July 3 on outstanding warrants for charges of breaking and entering, assaulting a police officer, drug possession, trespass, shoplifting, assault, and battery with a dangerous weapon and failing to register as a sex offender. He was briefly taken to the Berkshire County House of Corrections before being taken to the hospital that same day to treat infections in his hands.
Chandler was being released from the hospital so was uncuffed to change from medical garments into jail garments when he assaulted the corrections officer and fled the hospital. Multiple law enforcement agencies "saturated" the city around the clock for the last three days in search of him.
"I think he's exhausted. He has some physical and some medical conditions that he's dealing with and the thought that you are trying to evade 50 police officers who have saturated this city since Monday afternoon, he was tired," Bowler said, saying Chandler had peacefully gone into custody.
The agencies involved were: Pittsfield Police, Massachusetts State Police, Dalton, Lanesborough, Lee and Lenox Police, the Western Massachusetts Gang Task Force, the U.S. Marshal's Office, the New York State Police, Connecticut State Police, Millerton, and Colonie, N.Y. Police, the FBI, Massachusetts State Parole, the Hampden County Sheriff's Office, and the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office. Bowler described the response and search as a collaborative effort.
Bowler thanked those agencies, as well as the support provided by Berkshire Medical Center, the district attorney's office, and Mayor Linda Tyer. He thanked the officer who Chandler assaulted for shaking off his injuries and coming back to work the next day to help with the investigation.
He both apologized to the general public and commended the public for providing tips - as well as praised the media for sharing information with the public.
"I would like to apologize to the city of Pittsfield for this particular incident but I want to thank them and commend them for their understanding and their full support with this situation," Bowler said.
It was a tip that led to the capture, Bowler said. He said officers had known Chandler frequently visited there and knew the residents. Law Enforcement went to the address multiple times during the last three days looking for him. Eventually, he was seen there and a tip was provided to the office.
"We knew it was a location he frequented, along with several other addresses in the city of Pittsfield, so this is a particular address he had been going to but we don't believe he was there the entire time," Bowler said.
Bowler had previously hoped Chandler would turn himself in but that was not the case, though many on social media are saying that he had.
"He did not call us. We knew he didn't have a cell phone with him. He may have had access to a cell phone through some of his known associated but he personally did not reach out to any officer," Bowler said.
Bowler said Chandler had changed his appearance by cutting his hair. He will be facing additional charges related to the escape, assault and battery on a correctional officer, and possible charges could be added for assault of a nurse at the hospital.
The sheriff said the public provided a large number of tips and said every one was followed up on with some 25 to 30 officers on the case at all times during the last three days.
"You can never take anything for granted, you have to follow through. Sometimes the tips don't seem too credible but whether they are credible or not you have to do your due diligence. The tips are very vital," Bowler said.
The resolution comes at a great relief to Tyer, who said the escaped caused a lot of "anxiety" in the city.
"There was certainly some anxiety about this situation and our goal was to inform the public as much as possible as to the activities that were taking place, led by the Sheriff's Department, and I think that when the public learns of this news, there will be a great deal of relief," Tyer said.
"Our role in the city of Pittsfield was to provide the Sheriff's Department with whatever resources they needed. The Pittsfield Police Department played a significant role in this partnership with all the other law enforcement agencies to bring this to a resolution."
Chandler, originally from Dalton, had a violent criminal history and he was a trained and highly skilled Judo fighter. But he had also struggled with addiction for a number of years and was ultimately homeless.
His family was very involved in the search when he escaped, working with the sheriff's office, posting on social media asking for him to turn himself in, and expressing genuine concern for his wellbeing.
"They wanted to see him safe and they wanted to see him get treated and get better," Bowler said.
Bowler said he will assess whether or not protocols need to be updated following the incident, but promised that if Chandler does have to go to the hospital again there will be more than one officer on him.
Chandler is expected to be arraigned in court on Friday.
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Authorities Still Searching For Escaped Inmate
The sheriff said a number of law enforcement agencies are still searching for Chandler more than 24 hours after he escaped custody while being treated at Berkshire Medical Center.
Chandler was arrested on July 3 on a number of warrants and was being treated at the hospital for infections in his hands when he assaulted the corrections officer and escaped.
"At this time we would encourage Mr. Chandler to turn himself in peacefully. We are working with members of his family and have made contact with his attorney. We further encourage the public to report possible sightings to the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office, the Pittsfield Police Department, or the Massachusetts State Police if Mr. Chandler is observed at all," Bowler said on Tuesday during a press conference updating the public on the operation.
Chandler had been in the hospital since his arrest and, shortly after 2 p.m. on Monday, he was uncuffed to change from hospital garments to jail garments as he was being released from treatment and to be transported to the Berkshire County House of Correction. After getting the orange pants on, Chandler allegedly assaulted the guard watching him and then fled the hospital.
Bowler said the guard was treated for minor injuries and is back to work, even joining the manhunt to find him.
"We've been following leads with close to 50 law enforcement officers between the three agencies and federal resources. We were following leads until 4:30 this morning and then we regrouped again today at 8, 8:30 this morning," Bowler said.
Chandler was homeless at the time of his arrest but his family remains in the area. Bowler said his family is "very much involved" in the search. On social media, his sister made a plea on a number of posts hoping he'd see it and turn himself in.
"He is in the wrong and I hope he gets quickly and safely apprehended and gets the held he needs... he is also someone's son, brother, father, and loved one. Little Harry if you read this I implore you to turn your self in," Carrie Chandler wrote on a number of forums.
The 33-year-old Dalton native was once a champion Judo fighter who would ultimately begin to build a criminal record and struggle with addiction. Over the years he faced a number of changes for such things as assault and battery and breaking and entering.
In this latest arrest, the pending charges were breaking and entering, assaulting a police officer, drug possession, trespass, shoplifting, assault, and battery with a dangerous weapon and failing to register as a sex offender.
If or when he is caught, he'd be facing charges for escaping and assaulting an officer as well.
Authorities don't believe he is an immediate threat to the public at large. However, it does give Bowler cause for concern that he has shown the willingness to be aggressive.
Bowler encourages the public not to approach Chandler if they see him but instead call the authorities.
"We certainly have no information that Mr. Chandler has accessed any weapons. He has already displayed aggressive behavior toward one of our individuals. He has some aggressive behavior in the past so obviously that is is a concern. That is why we are dealing with the family. We got the word into many of his associates to hopefully turn himself in so we can have a peaceful resolution," Bowler said.
Bowler believes he is still in the immediate area and authorities have followed up on tips in Pittsfield, Dalton, and in one case Great Barrington.
The search launched on Monday included the sheriff's office, Pittsfield Police, and officers from the Lanesborough Police Department. The Massachusetts State Police joined and a police helicopter searched for him.
The search continues with officers from the Sheriff's Office, Pittsfield Police, Massachusetts State Police, and an officer from the FBI, which Bowler said will bring technological resources to the effort.
The sheriff's office released a mugshot of Chandler and advised that he currently does not have the facial hair as photographed. He also may appear a bit thinner than in the photograph.
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Pittsfield Woman Struck By Boat While Swimming
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 32-year-old woman was struck by a boat while swimming on Onota Lake Monday.
Police say that at about 4:20 p.m. Natasha Arigoni was swimming off the shore line with a friend when she was hit. The boat was being operating by 31-year-old Sean Preston.
Arigoni was transported to Berkshire Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries to her lower leg. The Massachusetts Environmental Police are taking over the investigation.
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Authorities Searching for Escaped Inmate in Pittsfield
The man, who was being held by the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department for pretrial, took off wearing only a pair of orange inmate pants — no shirt, no shoes.
The suspect, 33-year-old Harry Chandler, was arrested on several outstanding warrants on July 3, including failure to register as a sex offender. He escaped custody at about 2:07 p.m. Monday.
"He is a fugitive and he is at large so he is a concern," Sheriff Thomas Bowler said.
Chandler has several violent offenses on his record and although not considered an immediate threat to the public, Bowler said he is "obviously a concern" because he is "unpredictable at this time with his emotions and his addiction."
"He's more of an immediate danger to himself than I think to the public," Bowler said. "He's in a bad way, he has a severe addiction. ...
"But obviously, we're concerned because he's at bay, he overpowered one of our officers at the hospital and was able to get free."
Anyone seeing Chandler should contact authorities immediately at 413-442-0512. .
Chandler was suffering from infections in his hands at the time of his arrest and was taken to BMC.
"He needed medical treatment for infections to his hands down to at Berkshire Medical Center since the 3rd and he was getting released today to come back into our custody," the sheriff said. He did not know the immediate condition of the deputy, who was being treated at BMC.
Chandler was being held on charges including breaking and entering, assaulting a police officer, drug possession, trespass, shoplifting, assault and batter with a dangerous weapon and failing to register as a sex offender.
Pittsfield Police and sheriff's deputies were scouring the immediate area of the hospital and the Lanesborough Police Department was assisting. Bowler said other resources would be called upon as needed. He said Chandler's family has been cooperating with law enforcement.
Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Harry Chandler should call the sheriff's department at 413-442-0512.
Complete write-thru with updated information and quotes at 4:21 p.m.; more information added at 4:35 p.m. regarding threat to public and added photo.
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