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Pittsfield Police Asking Public's Help After 5th Shooting in Two Weeks

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police are investigating a Thursday evening shooting that resulted in two vehicles being struck by bullets, one of which had small children inside. This is only one of a slew of shooting incidents that have recently occurred in the city and the police are asking for the public's help.

On Thursday around 11 p.m., Pittsfield Police responded to a Shotspotter activation in the area of 266 Francis Ave. and upon arrival, found a motor vehicle that has been struck by gunfire.

There were three occupants in the vehicle, two of the occupants were small children. No injuries were reported and a second unoccupied vehicle was also struck by bullets.

Within the past two weeks, members of the Pittsfield Police Department have responded to at least five confirmed shooting incidents within the city limits. There were confirmed shootings on June 1, June 2, and June 3, and eight confirmed shootings during the month of May as well as a shooting homicide in April.

These incidents include an early morning incident on First Street on Tuesday that left a 27-year-old Pittsfield man with multiple gunshot wounds. The man's injuries were not considered life-threatening and though the incident is still under investigation, it appears that the victim was targeted by the assailant and there is no threat to the public.

Police are investigating the shootings to prevent further gunfire but they say they cannot do it alone and need the public's help.

"The PPD does not and will not tolerate indiscriminate gunfire, especially when our youngest and most vulnerable citizens are present," department officials wrote in a press release on Friday.

"Within our community is a resident or residents who know who these shooters are. They knew yesterday that one or more shooters were in the community, armed, with the intention of committing a crime. Had they shared that information, this, and the prior incidents may have been prevented."

At Wednesday's hearing for the Police Department budget, Mayor Linda Tyer was queried on the importance of Shotspotter — the city's gunshot detection service — that costs the city $240,000 a year and has a 22 percent true positivity rate.

Ward 1 Councilor Helen Moon believes the service does not prevent crime but rather responds to it. She unsuccessfully motioned the elimination of Shotspotter by reducing the line item by $240,000.

"Sadly, Pittsfield continues to be challenged by gun violence, and Shotspotter still fits into the overall law enforcement strategy," Tyer said then. "Despite this particular data point 70 percent positive rate versus a true positive rate of 22 percent, I still strongly believe that Shotspotter is a vital public safety technology and the cost is justified, Shotspotter is an invaluable tool for police to react quickly to a precise location when responding to a gun crime, assisting victims and collecting evidence."

Police are urging anyone with information to come forward — even anonymously — through the Detective Bureau Tip Line at 413-448-9706 or by texting PITTIP and your message to TIP411 (847411.)

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Berkshire NAACP President Reflects on Juneteenth Origins, Plans Rally

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Juneteenth was celebrated Saturday for the first time as a local, state, and national holiday.  
The city of Pittsfield added the holiday to its municipal roster in May, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a bill making Juneteenth a state holiday last July, and President Biden signed a bill making it a national holiday on Thursday.
Berkshire NAACP President Dennis Powell spoke to iBerkshires about the origins of the date and its implications in modern-day society.
Though he is glad to see it adopted nationally, Powell expressed mixed feelings about Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery and has been celebrated in some parts of the country as Emancipation Day.  
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