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Great Barrington Police Respond to Fatal Hunting Incident

Staff Reports
Update at 6:30 p.m. with identification and quote:
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — A 44-year-old Pittsfield man was killed on Saturday during what police say was a hunting accident. 
 
Christopher Puntin had been participating in a youth turkey hunt with two other adults and a juvenile.
 
According to Chief William Walsh, Police Officers Jonathan Finnerty and Kristopher Balestro, firefighter and EMTs responded about noon to a report of a hunting incident in a wooded area on Monument Valley Road and located the victim.
 
Puntin sustained a fatal gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene. No one else was injured.
 
An initial police investigation suggests the incident was an accident. 
 
"This is a tragic situation for all involved," Chief William Walsh said. "I'd like to commend the efforts of all responders under the command of Sgt. Adam Carlotto and Sgt. Paul Storti on a very difficult call."
 
Walsh also praised the assistance police received Saturday from the Fire Department and the Southern Berkshire Ambulance Squad Saturday. 
 
This incident remains under investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Police and State Police detectives assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office and Great Barrington Police.
     

Pittsfield Man Charged in Fatal Pedestrian Accident

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A Pittsfield man is facing charges related to a fatal pedestrian accident on Dalton Avenue on March 31.

Robert Johnson, 51, has been charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury/death accident, Pittsfield Police said in a release on Wednesday. Police said Johnson has been fully cooperative with the ongoing investigation.

Christopher Reynolds, 32, of Pittsfield was killed in the accident. Witnesses told police that a vehicle traveling eastbound struck Reynolds around 1:30 a.m., who was sitting down in the eastbound travel lane of Dalton Avenue, just east of Plastics Avenue, and continued traveling eastbound after impact.

     

Two Arrested After Manhunt

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The two men who led authorities on a manhunt on Tuesday are facing a number of charges.
 
Police say Arnold Chapman and Shannon Brown were arrested after leading police on a lengthy chase spanning from North Adams to Pittsfield. The incident started when the two allegedly attempted to return some $2,000 worth of stolen merchandise to the North Adams Walmart. They fled in a black pickup truck with Florida plates as North Adams Police were responding to the store.
 
The suspects fled shortly after 2:15 p.m. as police from North Adams, Adams, and Cheshire chased the vehicle. The drivers then cut over the Connector Road in Lanesborough to Route 7, where the Massachusetts State Police and Pittsfield Police joined the search to find the suspects. 
 
The vehicle was abandoned on West Housatonic Street, in a parking lot across from the Lebanon Avenue intersection. The two men then got a taxi from there to the Enterprise car-rental service on East Street. A trooper responded there and Brown allegedly assaulted her, broke free, and ran toward Cove street, and then onto Root Place. 
 
State and Pittsfield Police and deputies from the sheriff's department launched a wide-spanning manhunt for the suspects around the Elm Street and East Street areas. The search included K9 units and a police helicopter. 
 
At about 4:30 p.m., officers found and arrested Brown on Root Place. Brown allegedly gave the name of "Alstin Guice" and had a Florida driver's license in that name but troopers were later able to identify him as Brown through fingerprinting.
 
The 33-year-old Brown, from Tampa, Fla., had $4,210 in cash on hand. He was charged with assault and battery on a police officer, providing a false name to police, and as a fugitive from justice. 
 
Police also say Brown was the subject of a warrant in Phoenix, Ariz., for charges of fraudulent schemes, artifices, and theft. Authorities in Arizona intend to ask for his rendition to face those charges.
 
Chapman was later found in the same area suffering from hypothermia and shock after allegedly going into the Housatonic River while running from police. He was transported to Berkshire Medical Center and is still being treated as of Wednesday afternoon.
 
Pittsfield Police say the two suspects were involved in similar scams at the Walmart in Pittsfield, for $3,700, and in Hadley, for $2,600. 
 
Chapman also had a warrant in the state of Florida on charges of fleeing law enforcement at a high rate of speed, habitual traffic offender, and leaving the scene of property damage. Locally he will be facing a single count of larceny by false pretense, over $1,200, and additional charges may be forthcoming.
 


The State Police brought in a helicopter to help search for the men.

Original Post: Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at 5:46 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A high-speed chase and manhunt throughout the county tied up local law enforcement for hours on Tuesday.

 
Pittsfield Police and State Police confirmed they were helping search for two men wanted by North Adams Police but opted to withhold comment until they had more information.
 
North Adams Police were still investigating the situation when asked for comment and said information may not be available for hours.
 
According to the scanner reports, however, state and local police were chasing two men in a black pickup truck with Florida plates southbound on Route 8 from North Adams shortly after 1 in the afternoon. The men reportedly fled after an incident from the Super Walmart in North Adams, although that could not be confirmed.
 
The men evaded authorities all the way to West Housatonic Street in Pittsfield, where they then ditched the truck.
 
The pair then allegedly caught a cab and went back to the center of Pittsfield. Officers tracked the suspects onto Root Place and a manhunt ensued throughout a large portion of the Elm Street area. The State Police brought in the airwing to search for the men and Pittsfield Police had a K9 unit.
 
The search continued throughout the day. Both men appear to have apprehended but authorities have not yet confirmed that fact. 
     

Six-year-old Twins Among Those Who Died In Pittsfield Fire

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Six-year-old twins were among the three killed in a fire early Saturday morning.
 
The District Attorney's Office says Austin Grezlak, 25, a graduate of Taconic High School, and twins Kasper and Sylas Stone died when their home in Lake Onota Village burned. 
 
Two others escaped the blaze that was started from either a candle or smoking materials in the master bedroom. The twins' mother, Krystal Parody, was injured trying to reach them and is being treated at Massachusetts General Hospital being treated for non-life threatening injuries and an older sister was able to escape.
 
"The Berkshire District Attorney's Office sends sincere condolences to the families and friends of those who died in this tragic incident," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said. 
 
Authorities say at about 3:40 a.m. the home at 11 Lakewood Circle caught fire. Harrington said while the investigation of the fire remains open, it does not appear to be suspicious. The blaze destroyed the home and damaged a neighboring house.
 
Conducting the investigation into the incident are the Pittsfield Fire Department, the Pittsfield Police Department, members of the State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and detectives from the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.
 
A GoFundMe has been set up to help defray the cost of the boys' funeral and for moving and medical expenses.
     

Authorities Investigating Lake Onota Village Fire That Killed Three

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities are investigating a fire Saturday morning that left three people dead. 
 
Two people were found outside the structure in Lake Onota Village and taken to Berkshire Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries. Three others were inside the structure when firefighters arrived at the scene at about 3:40 a.m. on Saturday. 
 
In a brief press conference at about 10 a.m., Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said, "there is no indication the fire is suspicious at this time."
 
The identities of the victims are being withheld until next of kin can be notified. 
 
Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said firefighters arrived at the scene within 5 minutes of the call. 
 
The home was heavily damaged and a nearby residence had some radiant heat damage to its siding. 
 
"There is one hydrant here, this is a private development off of the city's main water system," he said. "We did develop some water problems in our initial attack so we did ask for assistance from Lanesborough and Richmond fire departments to send a couple of tankers for supplemental water." 
 
Lake Onota Village is a 131-lot mobile home community off Valentine Road that is owned by M.H.Communities.
 
Harrington and Czerwinski were joined by Police Chief Michael Wynn, First Assistant District Attorney Karen Bell, Mayor Linda Tyer and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey. None of these individuals spoke. 
 
The investigation is being conducted by the Pittsfield Fire and Police departments, members of the State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, and detectives from the State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire district attorney's office.

 

     
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