Springfield police officer stabbed in chest by arson suspect

Ruben Barrero

A Springfield police officer is recovering after being stabbed and injured by a suspect Wednesday night.

Acting Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood identified the suspect as 39-year-old Ruben Barrero and the officer as Greg Vatrano.

She said the two became engaged in a violent struggle on Island Pond Road after Barrero intentionally set his Vermont Street home on fire and ran away.

“Officer Vatrano was struck in the chest with a loud punching bang motion,” Clapprood explained. “The two began to struggle violently on the ground with Mr. Barrero on top of Officer Vatrano. He was delivering blows to the officer’s head and body.”

Officers later found out that Barrero had stabbed Vatrano in the chest with a kitchen knife. The knife had gone through Vatrano’s shirt and vest, but did not penetrate his skin due to the trauma plate located inside his bulletproof vest.

Clapprood said Vatrano suffered a broken hand and cuts and bruises in the violent struggle with Barrero, but is home recovering and is in good spirits.

In addition to arson, Barrero has also been charged with armed assault with attempt to murder, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno commented on the incident during a news conference with Clapprood Thursday morning and wished Vatrano a speedy recovery.

“He’s there to protect the public safety of our residents and he did his job,” Sarno said. “As did the other officers, to take this individual off the streets so he wouldn’t burn down someone’s house, so he wouldn’t try to stab and murder one of our police officers.”

Read more: Suspect in police custody after allegedly setting porch on fire in Springfield

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