Palmer man facing 9 charges after assault incident prompted Palmer schools lockdown

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A Palmer man is facing several armed home invasion charges after an assault incident in the Thorndike area triggered schools to be placed on lockdown late Friday afternoon.

Palmer police Lt. Christopher Burns told 22News 31-year-old John Girouard is facing the following charges:

  • 2 counts of home invasion, armed with a dangerous weapon
  • Assault in a dwelling while armed
  • Assault and battery
  • Assault with a dangerous weapon 
  • Breaking and entering in the daytime for a felony
  • 2 counts of malicious damage to a motor vehicle 
  • Destruction of property

Lt. Burns said officers from his department were called to 4009 Pine Street around 11:45 a.m. for a report of a man assaulting a resident with a knife. Authorities then said additional calls were made to police about another armed suspect with a gun and shots being fired.

Lt. Burns said in a news release to 22News, the armed suspect with the knife had left the location into a wooded area as responding officers arrived, leading them on a chase. Lt. Burns said that the person armed with the gun was identified and cooperating with police. 

The armed suspect on the run was described as a white man, 5’10 tall, average build with lighter colored hair. He was seen wearing a gray t-shirt with red lettering on the front with camouflaged shorts

Due to the violent nature of the assault and the armed suspect being at large, Palmer Public Schools, as well as Pathfinder Regional Schools were placed on lockdown until 3 p.m. Friday afternoon as a precaution while police searched the area.

At the time, Pathfinder Regional Tech High School superintendent Gerald Paist told 22News the school was placed on lockdown because there is a suspect nearby with a handgun and knife. 

Palmer police said officers were stationed at all school buildings during the lockdown.

Officers searched the area for several hours with police dogs from Monson and Ludlow Police Departments. State Police Air-Wing also assisted with the search as well.

Lt. Burns told 22News Girouard was arrested at 4005 Pine St. in the Thorndike section of Palmer around 5:52 Friday evening.

Girouard is being held on $50,000 cash bail.

Police are still looking into the situation and anyone with helpful information is asked to call the Palmer Police Criminal Investigation Division at (413) 283-5891.

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