SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield man has been arrested after allegedly robbing a business, then grabbing an officer’s firearm during a struggle.

According to Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh, officers received a report of an armed robbery at Metro PCS on Armory Street around 12:25 p.m. Tuesday. The suspect allegedly pulled out a knife and took an undisclosed amount of cash from the register.

The suspect was described to police, who found him in the area of Chapin Terrace. The officer chased after the suspect and ended in a violent struggle. A good Samaritan, Pedro Perez, driving by the incident got out of their vehicle and helped the officer detain the man.

During the struggle, the suspect allegedly grabbed the officer’s firearm and fired it, shooting his own finger. The suspect, identified as 41-year-old Joseph Gonzalez of Springfield, was arrested and taken to Baystate Medical Center for his injuries.

Perez’s vehicle also received damage from a bullet fired by Gonzalez. Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood said during a news conference Wednesday that a bullet went through Perez’s sweatshirt but he was not injured. Clapprood and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno greatly appreciated the help Perez provided during the incident.

“Without the help of Mr. Perez there undoubtedly would have been a much different outcome to this incident.  His actions in all likelihood saved the lives of two Springfield Police Officers. This dangerous suspect had zero regard for anyone’s livelihood and my officers involved put their lives on the line to prevent this individual from causing any additional harm. These officers displayed a degree of professionalism and bravery that their families, our fellow officers and the residents of the city they serve should be extremely proud of,” said Clapprood.

Mastroianni Auto Body in Springfield has offered to repair Perez’s vehicle for free and provide him a vehicle until the repairs are completed.

“I saw somebody struggling, I had notice she was in distress at the point where a little assistance was needed. My first reaction was to jump out of my truck and help out. I didn’t think of the consequences, I just helped out.”

Pedro Perez, good Samaritan

Perez, who flips houses in the area, says he actually applied to the Springfield Police tens years ago. Clapprood and Sarno both said they’d love to have him on staff.

Pedro Perez, good Samaritan that helped an officer during a struggle Tuesday with a robbery suspect.

“This incident could have ended very differently but thanks to the efforts from this good Samaritan, Pedro Perez, who was in the right place at the right time, he was able to provide assistance to our officers who were trying to detain the suspect.  When I called Mr. Perez to thank him, he simply and humbly stated this was the way he was brought up to help those in need,” said Sarno.

Gonzalez has been charged with the following:

  • Armed & Masked Robbery
  • Firearm-Armed Assault to Murder (3 Counts)
  • Discharging a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Building
  • Assault & Battery to Disarm a Police Officer
  • Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony
  • Possession of Ammunition without a FID Card
  • Larceny of a Firearm
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Malicious Damage to a Motor Vehicle
  • Assault & Battery
  • Assault & Battery on a Police Officer (2 Counts)

Clapprood said he has previously been convicted for armed robbery. Springfield police are still investigating the robbery and the incident.