Charges stem from shooting

WESTFIELD – While most consumers can feel free to complain to merchants about their merchandise — without being shot at – apparently it is different in the heroin trade.
City police report that in the early hours of Sunday, Sept. 27, at 4:05 a.m., a resident called police and reported that someone had shot at his car while it was in the Westfield City Hall parking lot.
Det. Lt. Stephan Dickinson reports that the caller told the responding officers that, about two hours earlier, he and a friend had made a cigarette run to a South Maple Street convenience store and gas station and, while there, his friend recognized a man pumping gas as a person who had allegedly sold heroin to a friend of his.
The investigation revealed that the caller’s friend confronted the man saying that the heroin he had sold had made his friend very sick. The altercation devolved into a shoving match which apparently ended when the alleged heroin dealer produced a pistol and menaced his accuser with it.
The caller told police that the alleged dealer left the gas station first but he said he became aware while driving on Court Street that he was being followed by the suspect so he pulled into the city hall parking lot because he didn’t want to be followed to where he was going.
“That’s when the suspect fires two shots from his vehicle,” Dickinson said and added “the second shot hits the back quarter panel in the rear, by the brake light” of the Subaru the victim was operating. The suspect then fled.
“The next day we were looking hard for these individuals, who were from Connecticut” Dickinson said, “and we located an address where they were staying temporally.”
He said that detectives Richard Mazza and Scott Schuster watched the address on City View Road and, when the suspect’s 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee returned, they stopped the car.
Mazza reports that when he looked in the window of the vehicle a black pistol was seen in plain view, in a pocket of the driver’s side door. The gun, a 9mm Hi-Point automatic pistol which as found to be loaded with a round in the chamber, was seized and the vehicle was impounded pending the issuance of a search warrant.
The warrant was granted and was executed Sept. 30. Dickinson reports a single live 9 mm round was found under the floor mat of the car and the interior was tested for gunshot residue but, he said, that test has not been completed.
The vehicle was found to have a camera mounted on the dashboard and a separate warrant was requested and granted. Dickinson said that he has not yet completed his examination of the camera.
Nonetheless, 12 criminal charges were filed in Westfield District Court Tuesday. The charges include discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, malicious destruction of property, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, attempted assault and battery with a firearm, assault with a dangerous weapon and several firearms charges including possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number. The suspect was found to have neither a Firearms Identification Card nor a License to Carry Firearms so he was also charged with carrying a firearm without a license, possession of ammunition without a license and improper storage of a firearm.
An arraignment date for the suspect has not been determined and Dickinson said that, after the examination of the dashboard camera is complete, additional charges may be added.

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