SPRINGFIELD, MA – A Massachusetts State Trooper was shot after responding to a shots fired incident in Springfield.
According to the Massachusetts State Police, just prior to 11:20 p.m. Thursday night a Massachusetts State Police Trooper responded to a multiple shot-spotter activations, indicating multiple shots fired, in the area of 104 Stafford St., Springfield. A Springfield Police Officer also responded to the activation and arrived at the scene simultaneous with the Trooper’s arrival. The Trooper and Officer each turned onto Nursery Street, which intersects with Stafford, to seek the source of ongoing gunshots that were audible to them and address any ongoing threat to public safety.
Evidence suggests that upon the arrival of the Trooper and Officer onto Nursery Street, a male suspect fired two rounds at their cruisers. The Trooper, a 26-year-old male assigned to the State Police-Springfield Barracks, was struck by one of the rounds while still in his cruiser. The Trooper was struck in his left leg after the round passed through part of the cruiser.
The Trooper exited the cruiser and the Springfield Officer provided emergency medical aid, including application of a tourniquet to the Trooper’s leg.
A second Trooper, Trooper Richard Caron, arrived at the scene moments later and transported the wounded Trooper to Baystate Medical Center.
A description of the potential suspect was broadcast by State Police-Springfield. Moments later an MSP K9 Unit Trooper observed a male fitting the suspect‘s description running on Stafford Street. The Trooper pursued the suspect on foot into a nearby backyard but lost sight of him. A short time later Springfield Police Officers located and arrested that suspect.
The suspect taken into custody was identified as CHRISTOPHER GARDNER, 31, of the Springfield area.
Following subsequent investigation by Troopers from the State Police Detective Unit for Hampden County, GARDNER was charged with the following offenses and booked at State Police-Springfield:
1. Armed assault with intent to murder (2 counts);
2. Assault and battery by discharge of firearm;
3. Assault with a dangerous weapon;
4. Unlawful possession of a firearm; and
5. Discharging a firearm within 50 feet of a building.
GARDNER was held at the Barracks through the night and then transferred to the House of Correction in Ludlow, held on $150,000 cash bail. He will be arraigned Monday in Springfield District Court.
State Police investigators recovered two handguns from the area of the shooting, and interviewed multiple potential witnesses. While GARDNER was being interviewed by investigators, Troopers discovered a minor injury to his foot. He was briefly treated at a hospital and released.
Preliminary investigation indicates that at around 11:17 p.m. GARDNER exchanged gunfire with another man, with whom he was involved in an altercation, in a parking lot near the intersection of Nursery and Stafford street. It was that exchange of gunfire that activated the shot-spotter alerts that prompted the initial response by the Trooper and the Springfield Officer. That exchange of gunfire with the other man is also being investigated as the source of the injury to GARDNER’s foot. The other man who was involved in the altercation with GARDNER has not been located. The injured Trooper received emergency treatment at Baystate Medical Center and was released earlier this morning. He will remain on injured leave while recovering.
Colonel Christopher S. Mason, Superintendent of the Massachushetts State Police, issued the following 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 Trooper Caron, who rushed to his fellow Trooper’s aid 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 will continue to investigate the incident, work with prosecutors to hold the suspected shooter accountable for his actions, and provide all necessary support to the Trooper who was injured.”
The investigation into the facts and circumstances of the incident, including the initial shooting between GARDNER and the other man, is ongoing. That investigation is being conducted by the State Police Detective Unit attached to the Hampden District Attorney’s Office along with Troop B of the Massachusetts State Police, Springfield Police, the State Police Crime Scene Services Section, the State Police Firearm Identification Section, and the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section (which mapped the crime scene).