RUSSELL, Mass. (WWLP) – Massachusetts State Police have ended their search in Russell for a suspect wanted in connection with a shooting near the University of St. Joseph’s campus in West Hartford. The area has been cleared along the Mass Pike and State Police will continue to work with West Hartford Police in the investigation.
Massachusetts State Police Spokesperson Dave Procopio told 22News, at around 8 a.m. troopers are assisting in the search for a suspect who shot a victim multiple times in West Hartford, Connecticut.
The suspect, 22-year-old Darnell Barnes, is considered to be armed and dangerous and is described as a black male, approximately 5’5″ tall with a slender build. Police believe he is from Hartford and previously lived in Bristol. Troopers found the vehicle he was driving, a black Nissan Pathfinder with New Mexico plates, on the west side of the Mass. Pike in Blandford.
The vehicle was determined to be unoccupied, and no firearms were found. As of 1:40 p.m., State Police have cleared the area and were unable to located the suspect. The search in the heavily wooded area was conducted by patrols, K9 teams, tactical units, and the State Police Drone Unit.
Residents in the Russell, Blandford area no longer need to shelter in place but are asked to maintain awareness, keep their doors locked, and call 911 if they see anyone suspicious on their property. According to the Chester-Blandford Police Department, there is no definitive indication that Barnes is still in the area.
Russell Police Lieutenant Sean Shattuck told 22News there is a police presence in the area until Barnes is apprehended or turns himself in.
Westfield Public Schools issued a modified shelter-in-place at around 11 a.m. due to this incident. According to an alert from the district, restrictions on outdoor activities and visitor access will be limited to emergency situations. The lockdown was lifted as of 12:10 p.m.
According to our sister station, WTNH, at around 2 a.m. West Hartford police were called to reports of shots being fired near the University of St. Joseph’s campus before a serious rollover crash. The driver involved in the rollover was taken to the hospital, and according to police, they sustained serious injuries.
According to MassDOT, I-90 westbound at exit 41 was closed and drivers were being detoured from exit 41 to Route 20 in Westfield. All lanes have reopened as of 11:20 a.m. and the scene has been cleared.
22News will update this story as soon as additional information is available.