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Pittsfield Officer Cleared in Officer-Involved Shooting Death

Staff Reports
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The district attorney has determined that Office Christopher Colello will not be charged with a crime in the shooting of Daniel Gillis in September.
 
Colello shot and killed 36-year-old Daniel Gillis on Taylor Street on Sept. 1, 2017. District Attorney David Capeless said on Wednesday that Colello "acted lawfully in defense of his fellow officers when Gillis suddenly charged at the officers while brandishing a knife."
 
"I have completed the investigation into the shooting death of Daniel Gillis on the afternoon on September 1, 2017, and I have concluded that there was no criminal behavior on the part of any of the officers of the Pittsfield Police Department. Specifically, I have determined that Officer Christopher Colello acted lawfully in defense of his fellow officers when Gillis suddenly charged at the officers while brandishing a knife," Capeless said in a statement.
 
"Clearly, this was an unfortunate situation which ended tragically. The entire incident developed within a short period of time and rapidly escalated when Gillis emerged from the house holding a knife to his throat and advanced upon officers despite their calls to drop the knife. When Gillis suddenly changed direction and charged at several officers, yelling at them, the situation changed from dangerous to life-threatening."
 
Capeless went on to say, "In this case, a cell phone video taken by a neighbor was quite helpful to the investigation, as it showed the incident shortly after Gillis emerged from the rear of the house and included the shooting. The investigation involved multiple, extended interviews of the many participants and witnesses, but the few seconds of the real-time capture of the event provided the most informative piece of the investigation."
 
Police responded that afternoon to a reported domestic incident. According to police, Gillis had initially barricaded himself in the house and was armed with a knife. He was said to be distraught and intoxicated, according to Capeless. Authorities said he exited the home and charged at officers while refusing to drop the weapon.
 
Colello shot the man seven times and Gillis was later pronounced dead at Berkshire Medical Center. The incident was the second officer-involved shooting involving Colello. He had previously shot a man in Dalton in 2010. It was also the city's second officer-involved shooting in 2017. In January 2017, 55-year-old Mark Marauszwski was shot by Officer Martin Streit after a police pursuit. Streit was cleared of any wrongdoing in that case.
 
The investigation of the Gillis incident was conducted by the state police detective unit assigned to the berkshire district attorney's office, assisted by the state police's Firearm Identification and Crime Scene Services sections, chemists assigned to the State Police Crime Laboratory, the Berkshire County sheriff's department and the Pittsfield Police Department.
     

Two Arrested for Alleged Armed Home Invasion in Pittsfield


The K9 unit was called to search the neighborhood. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Two men have been arrested in relation to an armed home invasion on Pomeroy Avenue on Friday afternoon.
 
Ronald P. Sanford III, 27, of Pittsfield and Arthur J. McCowan, 29, from Springfield were taken into custody when police responded to call from the home's occupant saying two individuals armed with handguns were trying to gain access. 
 
The call came in at about 2:11 p.m.; when police arrived at the scene they observed the two men, matching the descriptions provided by the caller, outside the home. 
 
Sanford and McCowan were detained and searched for weapons. Although no handguns were found, McCowan was in possession of a folding knife, according to police. While other officers detained the suspects, investigating Officer Brandon Gallagher interviewed witnesses. As a result of Gallagher's investigation, both Sanford and McCowan were arrested and charged with numerous offenses. 
 
The charges include unarmed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon (handgun), threat to commit crime (murder), and possession of a Class C drug (clonazepam) with intent to distribute. Sanford and McCowan are both being held on $10,000 bail. They will be arraigned in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday morning.
 
On Friday evening, while still in police custody, Sanford was transported to Berkshire Medical Center by Officers for medical reasons. He became aggressive and assaultive and as a result of his actions at the hospital, he was charged with four counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot and chair), one count of assault with a dangerous weapon (police radio), and one count of assault and battery on a police officer. 
 
The injuries to officers as a result of Sanford's actions were not serious.
     

Negotiators Talk Man Out Of Harming Self In Pittsfield Hotel Room

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police negotiators were able to talk a man out of harming himself inside a local hotel room.

 
The Berkshire County Special Response Team successfully convinced the unnamed individual who had reportedly threatened to harm himself after three hours at the Econo Lodge on Cheshire Road.
 
"Shortly after 9 o'clock this morning we received information through the crisis team that one of their clients had contacted clinician, despondent, possible intoxicated, and made the threats to do harm to himself. He indicated that he may have had access to a weapon," Police Chief Michael Wynn said.
 
Patrolmen located the individual's vehicle at the hotel, confirmed he was in the room, and then the Special Response Team took over the scene. 
 
Police secured the scene and negotiators with the Special Response Team eventually convinced the man to exit the room without incident.
 
"Negotiators managed to contact him by phone. They convinced him to come out. He exited and was taken into custody without incident and he is being transported to the hospital for evaluation," Wynn said.
 
Around 1 p.m. the Action Ambulance, with police escorts, took the man to Berkshire Medical Center.
 
"We did not recover a firearm. We did recover a knife," Wynn said.
 
During the three hours, other guests in the room were either evacuated or told to shelter in place.
 
     

Pittsfield Man Arrested on Outstanding Warrants, Firearms Charges

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — State policed arrested a man on Tyler Street in Pittsfield on Sunday evening after it was determined that he had outstanding warrants and was unlawfully in possession of a firearm.
 
Michael McCoy, 31, of Pittsfield, was placed under arrest on three outstanding arrest warrants, which were for failure to appear in Central Berkshire District Court and original charges involving motor vehicle offenses.
 
Trooper Robert Berrena of the Troop B Community Action Team was on patrol on Tyler Street at about 7:45 p.m. when he observed a vehicle that he believed was being operated by a man whom he knew to have outstanding warrants.  
 
After confirming the existence of three warrants and that the vehicle, a 1995 Lexus ES300, had a revoked registration status, he pulled the vehicle over. It was being operated by McCoy.
 
While conducting an inventory of the motor vehicle, a Smith and Wesson 9mm handgun was located by Sgt. Doug Heppleston, who was assisting with the stop.
 
In addition to the three outstanding warrants, McCoy was booked at the state police barracks in Cheshire on the following charges:
 
1. Unlawful possession of a firearm
2. Unlawful possession of ammunition
3. Unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle
4. Uninsured motor vehicle
5. Revoked registration
 
McCoy was transported to the Berkshire County House of Correction to be held pending his appearance in District Court on Monday.
     

Driver Smashes Through PetCo Store in Pittsfield

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff

The vehicle came to a halt about 100 feet into the store.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. with the name of the driver, make and model of vehicle, and specific time of the call.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An elderly driver smashed through the glass-front windows at Pet Co. and traveled at least 100 feet into the building on Tuesday morning. 

Officials said Alice Canning, 83, of Lenox was taken to Berkshire Medical Center for minor injuries after her car accelerated through the parking lot, and into the store.
 
Public safety officials said no customers, employees, or animals were hurt.
 
"It appears there's no or minor injuries at this time, just the driver herself is being treated by medical staff," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski at the scene."No store employees or customers appear to be injured in the incident."
 
The chain pet supply store is located in the former Kmart building on Merrill Road, tucked between T.J. Maxx and HomeGoods. The accident occurred at 11:29  a.m., when the store was open for business. 
 
Czerwinski said the city's building and wire inspectors were en route to the scene to determine the condition of the building, citing significant damage to the front facade and some wiring. The store was evacuated.
 
"Obviously, we've got a late model Toyota that's deep into the building, almost 100 feet in there ... there's a glass front window that has been knocked out and there's some wiring on there that also needs to be looked at by the wire inspector," he said.
 
The small black car 2002 Toyota Camry appears to have entered just left of the main doors, near the small-animal pet section, and ended in the cat and dog food area. The animals -- fish, birds, reptiles and small animals -- are normally kept along left side of the building. The grooming section is on the right. 
 
The appears to have barely avoided the cases for the mice and hamsters. 
 
The driver was expected to be taken to Berkshire Medical Center for follow-up. She was the only occupant of the vehicle at the time.

     
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