SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Police have arrested a suspect after a Massachusetts State Police trooper was shot while responding to a shots fired call on Nursery Street in Springfield late Thursday night.
According to Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio, the officer was responding to a shots fired call on 104 Stafford Street. The trooper arrived on Nursery Street when the sound of gunshots could be heard. The suspect had shot two times at the police car and the trooper was shot in his left leg around 11:25 p.m.
The trooper was conscious and alert after being shot, Procopio said. He was taken to Baystate Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries and has since been released from the hospital.
The suspect had got away but a description of the suspect was sent to troopers and officers in the Springfield area. Moments later, a State Police K9 trooper saw the suspect running on Stafford Street. The trooper chased the man down through backyards and lost sight of him but Springfield officers found him a short time after and arrested him.
The suspect has been identified as 31-year-old Christopher Gardner and is charged with the following:
- Armed assault with intent to murder (2 counts)
- Assault and battery by discharge of a firearm
- Assault with a dangerous weapon
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- Discharging a firearm within 50 feet of a building
Gardner is being held on a $150,000 cash bail and was transferred to the Ludlow House of Correction. He will be arraigned on Monday in Springfield District Court.
The trooper, whose identity has not been made public, responded to a ShotSpotter activation on Nursery Street along with a Springfield Police officer. The Springfield officer provided emergency medical aid until a State Police arrived and brought the trooper to Baystate Medical Center.
The trooper who was shot is assigned to the State Police-Springfield Barracks. He graduated from the State Police Academy in May 2020.
An investigation into the shooting found that around 11:17 p.m., Gardner was exchanging gunfire with another person in a parking lot at the intersection of Nursery and Stafford street. ShotSpotter was activated by the gunshots which prompted the State Police trooper to go to the incident. The other person involved in that shooting has not been found.
Colonel Christopher S. Mason, Superintendent of the Massachushetts State Police, issued the following statement:
“I commend our Trooper for his proactive response to the shot-spotter alert that led to his being shot. He rushed to a scene where he knew violence was occurring, in order to investigate and end a threat to public safety. I am also extremely grateful to the Springfield officer who cared for our injured Trooper at the scene, to the EMTs who treated him and took him to the hospital, and to the medical professionals who cared for him there. Last night’s shooting once again underscores the dangers faced on any given shift by Massachushetts State Troopers and all police officers who protect our communities. Again we are reminded — as if any reminder was necessary— that no tour of duty is routine or predictable for law enforcement officers. We continue to investigate the incident so that we may identity and hold accountable the person or persons responsible for this violent act, and we will continue to provide all necessary support to the Trooper involved.”Colonel Christopher S. Mason
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno also issued a statement, saying:
“First of all, I pray for good health, speedy recovery and encouragement for the state trooper that was shot at a very early morning party disturbance on Nursery Street. I also commend our Springfield Police Department police officer who applied lifesaving action to the state trooper. This once again underscores the dangerousness that our brave men and women in blue face day-in and day-out to keep all of our Springfield residents safe and sound. I must also point out, the restraint that was shown by our SPD and state troopers in not returning fire, and making an arrest utilizing one of our K9 officers. ‘Blue’ did their job, now let us see what some of our judges and the court system does. Do they allow this individual to be let go to continue to party and perpetuate mayhem to one of our residents or police officers/state troopers or do they keep him locked up. On behalf of all our residents and public safety officials, I hope and pray for the latter.”Mayor Sarno