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Man Shot And Killed By Pittsfield Police During Domestic Disturbance

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
The preliminary results of an autopsy on Daniel Gillis indicate was shot seven times and died from multiple gunshot wounds.
 
Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Sexton conducted the autopsy on the 36-year-old Gillis on Saturday afternoon at Holyoke office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield Police officer shot and killed a man who allegedly charged officers after first barricading himself in his home.
 
District Attorney David Capeless' office says Daniel Gillis, 36, of 43 Taylor St. was shot by Officer Christopher Colello Friday afternoon. Officers had responded to the address at 12:50 in the afternoon on Friday to a report of an ongoing domestic incident.
 
"The caller indicated that her ex-boyfriend was at the house, causing a disturbance, and when she attempted to intercede, he kicked in the door," Police Chief Michael Wynn said. "Shortly after the initial patrol units responded, they called for additional assistance and declared it as a barricaded subject. The barricaded subject had a knife."
 
Gillis was apparently distraught after being fired from his job and was intoxicated, the district attorney's office alleges. He barricaded himself in the house and armed himself with the knife. The woman, who was described by in the DA's statement as Gillis' girlfriend, threw the knife out of a window but Gillis went and got another one.
 
Shortly after, he exited out a rear door of the home and allegedly charged at officers who were stationed on the side of the property.
 
"He exited the residence and was coming toward the officers," Wynn said.
 
Gillis refused to drop the weapon despite police orders, say law enforcement officials, and a civilian witness and a video from a bystander confirmed that.
 
Gillis was taken to Berkshire Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
 
Friday's shooting incident is the second involving Colello. In November 2010, the officer shot Michael Barry after he had doused himself and another person with gasoline and fled into the woods in Dalton. Coello shot Barry when he refused to stop. Barry survived and later pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and vandalism. Numerous other charges were dropped and an internal investigation determined that Colello had not acted improperly.
     

Police Detect 'Large Scale' Credit Fraud Through Gas Pump Skimmers

Staff Reports

Images of a card receiver, left, and one with a skimmer, right, from the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A "large scale" credit card fraud operation was detected in the city.
 
Police say skimming devices were found inside two local gas pumps, at both Lipton Marts at 580 North St. and 460 South St. Police said it is not known how long the devices had been in place nor how much credit card information was stolen.
 
Police say the number of locations with such devices could increase as authorities worked to inspect gas pumps throughout the city.
 
The devices take credit card information when the cards are scanned and pass it along to third parties. The devices have been removed from both locations, eliminating the risk of further theft. However, residents who have used those pumps are asked to check their records and "be vigilant for signs of fraud."
 
Should residents find signs of fraud, they are asked to contact their bank first and then the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9705.
 
Police say similar devices were found on gas pumps in Great Barrington and if anyone sees fraudulent activity from either of those to contact Police in that town.
 
PC Magazine did an article last year on how to identify a skimmer at an ATM or gas pump. 
 
Area businesses which operate the "Gilbarco Advantage" or the "Gilbarco Encore" pumps are asked to check their equipment as well because it appears those particular pumps were targeted.
 
Lipton Energy is reportedly cooperating with the investigation but cannot assist customers with questions about the investigation. Gas pumps throughout the city will be inspected by the end of Wednesday. 
 
Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Division of Standards, and local authorities are working the investigation.
 
Correction: an earlier version stated that skimmers were found in Lee but Lee Police say that is incorrect.
     

Pittsfield Anti-Crime Unit Arrests Man on Drug, Firearm Charges

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city's Anti-Crime Unit arrested a Stockbridge man on Monday on drug and firearms charges. 
 
According to police, police officers in plainclothes encountered William Lacy, 26, walking in the area of Center and Bradford streets. The encounter occurred at about 7 p.m. and officers say they developed probable cause for believing he was in possession of narcotics. 
 
Lacey was searched and police said he was found to be in possession of 42 bags of heroin and a crack pipe. After he was placed
under arrest, they conducted a search of the backpack Lacey was wearing. Inside the backpack, officers discovered a 9mm handgun with a loaded magazine inside of it.
 
Lacey was arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday morning on charges possession of a Class A drug (heroin); possession of a Class E drug (suboxone); possessing a firearm without a firearm identification card; and possessing ammunition without an FID.
     

Pittsfield Couple's Autopsies Show Trauma, Suicide

Staff Reports
Updated: Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at 7 p.m.
 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities have ruled that 39-year-old Celeste Kordana died from a blunt force trauma to the head. John Kordana, 53, died from asphyxiation and loss of blood from multiple superficial wounds.
 
John Kordana's injuries appear to be self-inflicted, according to District Attorney David Capeless' office. The autopsies were conducted on Wednesday by Associate Medical Examiner Robert Welton at the Holyoke Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
 
The couple was found dead inside their Harryel Street home on Monday afternoon after Police were asked to do a well-being check. Firefighters were called to force entry into the home at about 2:50 p.m. 
 
The district attorney's office had said on Tuesday that there was no indication that a third party was involved.
 
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department with the assistance of State Police Detectives assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office and troopers assigned to the Crime Scene Services Section.

Updated: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 4:45 p.m. 

 
An autopsy has been scheduled for Wednesday morning. At this point, police say there is nothing to suggest a third party was involved in the death. But, authorities say all possibilities are still being considered as police continue investigating the circumstances.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investing the deaths of a city couple.

 
Police say the bodies of John and Celeste Kordana, 53 and 39, respectively, were found in their Harryel Street home on Monday.
 
The bodies are being transferred to the Holyoke Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to determine the cause of death, though the autopsies have not been scheduled.
 
According to the district attorney's office, officers were called to do a well-being check on the pair and upon arrival were unable to get into the home. At about 2:50 p.m., the Fire Department forced entry into the home, where the bodies were found.
 
The investigation is being conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department, state police assigned to the district attorney's office, and troopers from the Crime Scene Services Section.
     

Pittsfield Police Officer Facing Charges for Off-Duty Incident

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield Police officer was arraigned Wednesday for charges stemming from an off-duty incident that occurred on July 4, 2016.

Officer Michael McHugh, 42, an 18-year veteran of the department,had not-guilty please entered on his behalf on single counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, misleading a police officer or other person, and being a public employee making a false report.

He is accused of assaulting a 54-year-old man in Pittsfield on Indendence Day last year. It is also alleged that he generated a false report about the assault on July 6, 2016.

The investigation was conducted by members of the Pittsfield Police Department.

Superior Court Judge John Agostini released McHugh on personal recognizance on the condition that he have no contact with the alleged victim.

McHugh has been under investigation by Internal Affairs since August 2016 because allegations related to the above incident.

Subsequently, the investigation was reassigned to the Detective Bureau to conduct a criminal investigation. The criminal investigation resulted in the charges for which McHugh has been arraigned. The Internal Affairs investigation has been referred to the Appointing Authority under Civil Service requirements.

McHugh, who joined the force in 1999, remains on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the required Civil Service processes.

"Whenever the Pittsfield Police Department becomes aware of alleged misconduct by any of our members, we take those allegations very seriously. Complete and thorough investigations are conducted and when warranted, referrals are made to the appropriate criminal justice partners. Service as a police officer requires a high degree of public trust, and police officers, justifiably, are held to a higher standard," said Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn.

     
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