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Sue Bush
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Secor Ave. Murder Leads To Union St. Arrest

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Tuesday, July 25, 2006

North Adams - A 27-year-old Brooklyn, N.Y. man was charged with one count of murder after an early morning July 25 shooting at 6 Secor St. claimed the life of the victim.

James J. Smith was arrested by city police officers at 318 Union St. during the late morning. A motive for the shooting has not been disclosed.

Smith is being held without bail at the Berkshire County House of Correction and is expected to face a July 26 arraignment at the Northern Berkshire District Court. Smith was also charged with one count of illegal possession of a handgun, according to information released by Berkshire County District Attorney David F. Capeless.

The name of the 31-year-old male victim is being witheld pending notification of next of kin. The man is believed to be from the Bronx, N.Y. area, according to the information provided by Capeless.


6 Secor Avenue

According to information on the city police log, police were called to Secor Avenue at 2:52 a.m. by a female caller who reported that a friend had been shot by a male with whose nickname began with "Half."

The caller reported that the alleged shooter had left a gun on the floor and fled the premises, according to the police log. Police Officers Anthony Beverly and Joshua Mantello responded to the call, according to the log information. The North Adams Ambulance Service was also called to the address, according to the log, and log information shows that an ambulance arrived at North Adams Regional Hospital from Secor Avenue at 3:14 a.m..

The victim was pronounced dead by Berkshire County Associate Medical Examiner Benjamin Glick. An autopsy has been scheduled for July 26 at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Holyoke.

A CPAC Massachusetts State Police investigative unit was also called to the scene, according to the log, as was Morocco and city police Det. Richard Lesniak. A North Adams Transcript newspaper photograph identified city police Director Michael Cozzaglio as being at the scene as well.

Published media reports indicated that a medical examiner was reportedly called to the Secor Avenue residence.

318 Union Street

Later in the morning, several city police officers and Cozzaglio were seen by several passersby at a 318 Union Street residence. A Clarksburg police cruiser was seen on Beaver Street, according to passersby.

According to the police log, city police Lt. David Sacco and Officers Craig Bush, Christopher Whitney, Alan MacDonald, and police Sgt. James Burdick were called to 318 Union St. at 11:18 a.m. to provide back-up. The call came from police Officer John LeClair, according to the log. Smith was taken into custody at the residence.

The North Adams Ambulance Service was also called and told to wait at the Visitors's Center, also on Union Street, according to the police log.

The murder investigation was conducted by city police officers, Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the Office of the District Attorney [CPAC], Masssachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services and Ballistics, and Pittsfield Police Department officers who served as Berkshire County Drug Task Force officers for purposes of the investigation.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.
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