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Update: Knife-Wielding Man Shot by Pittsfield Police Identified

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Update at 5:16 p.m. with more information and the victim's identity.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police officers say they shot and killed a knife wielding man who charged at officers after nonlethal attempts were made to incapacitate him.   
The victim has been identified as 22-year-old Miguel Estrella. The Berkshire State Police Detective Unit is conducting a criminal investigation into Estrella's death pursuant to standard protocols in officer-involved shootings.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will perform an autopsy on Sunday. The State Police Detective Unit is conducting a comprehensive and ongoing investigation with the support of Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services and Massachusetts State Police Firearms Identification Section. 
On Friday, March 25, 2022, at approximately 9:46 p.m., Pittsfield Police Department officers were dispatched to the 279 Onota St. for an initial report that a man had cut himself and was outside of his residence. 
According to information from the District Attorney's Office, there had been multiple 911 calls requesting assistance. Callers alerted dispatch that Estrella had a history of mental illness, was cutting himself and was currently located outside of the apartment building. County Ambulance was also dispatched and responded to the scene and offered emergency medical services and transport to the hospital which Estrella declined.
Initial responding officers located Estrella with an apparent self-inflicted laceration to his face and had requested County Ambulance. At approximately 10:06 p.m., he refused medical attention and was left in the care of his girlfriend, who agreed to remain with him for the night.
Shortly after officers and emergency medical personnel departed, a third 911 call came in requesting that officers return due to Estrella "acting crazy again," according to the caller who also stated that "he needs to be taken to the hospital." 
Pittsfield Police and County Ambulance were again dispatched to 279 Onota at approximately 10:10 p.m. Two Pittsfield Police officers arrived ahead of County Ambulance and encountered Estrella near the entrance of the apartment building at 279 Onota. According to the DA's Office, an eyewitness account confirmed that Estrella had a knife in his hands when police were there. 
The initial responding units requested additional units and equipment. When the armed subject advanced on the officers, officers attempted two TASER deployments on the armed subject. When neither TASER deployment was successful in incapacitating the man, one officer fired their duty sidearm, striking the subject twice and stopping his advance, according to police.
The name of the officer who fired the fatal shots has not yet been released. The Pittsfield Police Department placed both of the responding officers on administrative leave pending the preliminary report of the department's internal Force Investigation Team pursuant to the order of Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn and Pittsfield Police Department policies.
The initial responding officers immediately attempted to render lifesaving aid and County Ambulance took Estrella to Berkshire Medical Center where he subsequently died. Additional Pittsfield Police Department Patrol Units and Investigative Units, as well as Massachusetts State Police Units responded to contain the scene.
While taking control of the scene, the Pittsfield Police Department requested assistance from the Berkshire State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office. At approximately 11:20 p.m., the Pittsfield Police Department was notified by Berkshire Medical Center that the man had succumbed to his injuries and was deceased.
"I send my deep condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Estrella for their loss. The State Police Detective Unit is conducting a thorough investigation to determine exactly what happened that led to this tragic death," District Attorney Andrea Harrington said.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office has taken over jurisdiction the case. It is under investigation by the Berkshire State Police Detective Unit, the Pittsfield Police Department, Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab, and Massachusetts State Police Ballistics Section, with assistance by the Berkshire Law Enforcement Task Force. 
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the State Police Detective Unit at 413-499-1112.

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Pittsfield School Committee Sees $78M Budget Proposal

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The district is seeking a budget increase of more than 8 percent in fiscal year 2024, with a majority of the funding going to special education, career technical education, and contractual obligations.

The School Committee got a first look at the upcoming budget request on Wednesday.  The $78,310,016 ask is an 8.17 percent — or $5,911,754 — increase from FY23's budget of $72,398,262.

"Our goal continues to be to create meaningful and most importantly, sustainable change for the children of our city," Superintendent Joseph Curtis told the committee.

"Meaningful and sustainable change takes time. We are impatient because our decisions affect children's lives every day but any rush to change is reactive and typically is not embedded systematically. Changes that do not impact our systems are prone to quickly revert back to prior practice."

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