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Williamstown Police Looking into Cemetery Vandalism

By Stephen Dravis
iBerkshires Staff

Sticks that once held American flags adorning graves at East Lawn Cemetery are disposed of in a trash can at the cemetery.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Police Department is investigating a vandalism incident at East Lawn Cemetery, Lt. Michael Ziemba said on Monday evening.
 
Visitors to the cemetery on Saturday discovered that a couple of dozen American flags on the graves of veterans and at least one member of the town's fire district were removed and the wooden flag sticks left behind.
 
"We are fairly confident based on the number of flags and the short time frame (Friday night) that this is not an animal," Zimeba wrote in response to questions about the incident.
 
"We have no motive, and there have not been any similar incidents in other cemeteries."
 
Ziemba said the WPD routinely checks on the town's cemeteries at night.
 
The department would like to hear from anyone "who may have seen something suspicious or who has any information about this incident," Ziemba said.
 
According to Massachusetts General Law, removal of "a tomb, monument, gravestone, American flag, veteran's grave marker, metal plaque, veteran's commemorative flag holder, commemorative flag holder representing service in a police or fire department, veteran's flag holder," is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
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Florida Woman Dies in Motorcycle Accident

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A local woman was killed in a motorcycle accident Saturday afternoon on Route 2. 
 
The accident occurred about 5 p.m. near the Florida town line. 
 
According to a release from the Berkshire district attorney's office, Daryl Rougeau, 42, of the town of Florida, lost control of the 2009 Harley Davidson motorcycle he was operating about one half-mile east of the Hairpin Turn. His passenger, Kristin Rougeau, 38, also of Florida, died after being ejected from the motorcycle. She was pronounced dead on the scene by emergency medical personnel. 
 
Daryl Rougeau was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center's satellite emergency facility in North Adams. Hospital personnel treated his injuries and released him.
 
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Westfield took custody of the body to perform an autopsy. The investigation into the collision is ongoing.
 
Berkshire State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, North Adams Police, Clarksburg Police, State Police Troop B,  State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, State Police Crime Scene Service Section, and the Florida Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene.
 
Route 2 was closed from West Shaft Road to the town line for several hours Saturday night. 
 
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Pittsfield Fire Responds to Kitchen Blaze

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A fire caused $2,000 in damage to a kitchen in a Benedict Road home on Thursday. 
 
Firefighters responded to the call at 126 Benedict shortly after noon and found smoke showing from the rear of the single-family, wood-frame structure. The homeowner had extinguished the majority of the fire before firefightered arrived. 
 
The E-5 crew ensured the fire was completely extinguished; Tower 1 ventilated the home while E-3 firefighters retrieved a dog from the smoke-filled home. 
 
According to the report by Deputy Chief Daniel Garner, the kitchen sustained fire and smoke damage -- particularly to the cabinets and appliances -- and the rest of the first floor incurred minor smoke damage. 
 
The occupants were evaluated for smoke inhalation by Action Ambulance personnel but were not taken to the hospital. No one was injured and the cause was accidental. 
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Juvenile Arrested in North Adams Shooting

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police have arrested a juvenile in connection with the Tuesday night's shooting on River Street.
 
According to a statement from Mayor Thomas Bernard, the arrest was made on Wednesday and the suspect is being held in a correctional facility in Worcester.
 
Police Chief Jason Wood, in a statement, said the warrant for the 15-year-old was successfully executed in North Adams in the late afternoon without incident and the suspect was transported to Worcester.
 
The arraignment is in Central Berkshire Juvenile Court on Thursday and the juvenile is facing two charges: assault with intent to murder and assault and battery on a person over 60 years old with serious bodily injury
 
Because the suspect is a juvenile no further information is being released at this time.
 
Wood said the investigation is still active and specific details need to be withheld as not to compromise the case.
 
The shooting victim, a 62-year old man, continues to receive treatment at Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center for his injury. Wood said his condition "is reported to have improved substantially."
 
"I would like to thank the North Adams Police Detective Unit, North Adams Police Patrol Division, as well as the Massachusetts State Police detectives assigned to the district attorney's office for the hard work and dedication put into this case," the chief said. 
 
Police say the man, who has not yet been formally identified, was walking along River Street shortly after 7 p.m. on Tuesday night when he was struck in the neck. He staggered across the street and fell on the lawn at 71 River. 
 
Officer Stephanie Mirante was able put pressure on the wound until North Adams Ambulance personnel arrived. 
 
"I want to commend the North Adams Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police and detective assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's office for their thorough and professional response to this shooting," said Bernard. "The police officers and detectives involved in the investigation responded quickly to understand the details of the case, to ensure there was no further risk to public safety related to the shooting incident, and to pursue evidence and leads resulting in the apprehension of a suspect."
 
The mayor said the investigation is ongoing.
 
"Finally, I want to commend the work of North Adams Police Officer Stephanie Mirante who provided lifesaving treatment to the victim at the crime scene," he said.
 
If anyone has further information to provide, they are asked to contact Detective Sergeant Brad Vivori at 413-664-4944.

 

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North Adams Police Seeking Information on Shooting Incident

Staff Reports
Update: July 15, 2020: The victim in Tuesday night's shooting is a 62-year-old man. His identity is still being withheld but he was transported by helicopter Tuesday to Albany (N.Y.) Medical Center where he underwent surgery and continues to receive treatment. 
 
Police say there is no public danger resulting from this incident and that further information will be released after the investigation. Anyone with information is urged to contact Detective Vivori of the North Adams Police Department at 413-664-4944.
 
***************************************************************************************
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police are investigating a shooting on River Street on Tuesday night that severely injured a man.
 
The victim was walking on River Street when he was struck at about 7:20 p.m.
 
"A male about 50 years old was shot in the neck with a projectile," said Police Chief Jason Wood at the scene. "He stumbled across the road and fell into the yard of 71 River St."
 
Wood said officers arrived at the scene and put pressure on the wound until emergency medical technicians arrived. He was taken to Berkshire Medical Center's satellite emergency facility and stabilized and transported elsewhere by a medical helicopter nearly two hours later. 
 
Police have not determined the type of gun or caliber at this time.
 
River Street was closed off from Marshall to Eagle, although limited traffic was being allowed from Freeman to Eagle. The street was expected to remain closed for at least several more hours.  
 
North Adams Police were being assisted by state police and Clarksburg Police. The state police's Crime Scene Services had been called to the scene. 
 
The identity of the victim was not being released at this time. 
 
Wood said he expected to have more information on Wednesday and would be releasing a statement. 
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