SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — One person is under arrest after a Massachusetts State Police trooper was shot and injured during a call late Thursday night in Springfield.
Mass. State Police spokesperson David Procopio said that a trooper responded with Springfield Police to several ShotSpotter activations in the area of 195 Nursery Street shortly before 11:20 p.m. Thursday.
A preliminary investigation indicates that as the trooper and a Springfield officer were arriving on Nursery Street, a male suspect fired two bullets at the cruisers.
The trooper – a 26-year-old man who graduated from the academy in May and is assigned to the Springfield barracks – was hit in the left leg by one bullet while he was still in his cruiser.
The injured trooper got out of the cruiser and the Springfield officer provided aid as another trooper arrived on-scene and took the injured trooper to Baystate Medical Center, where he was treated and released early Friday morning.
Procopio said that a description of a possible suspect was then radioed out and a short time later, a K-9 unit saw a man fitting that description running on Stafford Street.
State Police chased the suspect on foot, but lost sight of him. Springfield Police were able to locate and arrest that suspect, identified as 31-year-old Christopher Gardner, a short time later.
Gardner is facing several charges, including:
- Armed assault with intent to murder (two counts)
- Assault and battery by discharge of firearm
- Assault with a dangerous weapon
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- Discharging a firearm within 50 feet of a building
Two handguns were found in the area of the shooting and police spoke to several possible witnesses.
Procopio explained that a preliminary investigation into the initial call found that Gardner allegedly exchanged gunfire with another man around 11:15 p.m. Thursday during an altercation in a parking lot near the intersection of Nursery and Stafford Streets. That gunfire is what triggered the ShotSpotter activations and the police response.
The other man involved in the altercation with Gardner has not been found.
Mass. State Police Col. Christopher Mason said in a statement:
“I commend our Trooper for his proactive response to the shot-spotter alert that led to his being shot. He rushed to a scene where he knew violence was occurring, in order to investigate and end a threat to public safety. I am also extremely grateful to the Springfield officer who cared for our injured Trooper at the scene, to the EMTs who treated him and took him to the hospital, and to the medical professionals who cared for him there. Last night’s shooting once again underscores the dangers faced on any given shift by Massachusetts State Troopers and all police officers who protect our communities. Again we are reminded — as if any reminder was necessary— that no tour of duty is routine or predictable for law enforcement officers. We continue to investigate the incident so that we may identity and hold accountable the person or persons responsible for this violent act, and we will continue to provide all necessary support to the Trooper involved.”
Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh added in a statement: “Wishing a speedy recovery to the @MassStatePolice Trooper who quickly arrived on scene at Nursery Street and excellent work from an SPD officer who immediately applied first aid.”
The injured trooper will remain on injured leave while he continues his recovery.
Procopio noted that while Gardner was being interviewed by investigators, it was found that he had a minor foot injury. He was treated at a local hospital and released into custody. Authorities are also looking into whether that exchange of gunfire during the altercation was the source of Gardner’s foot injury.
Gardner is being held on $150,000 cash bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.
The investigation into the incident remains active and ongoing.
Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more information as it becomes available.