CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Mayor of Chicopee released a public statement and plans to ensure public safety at events after police broke up a large disturbance during the annual Chicopee football Sword game on Thanksgiving.

Officers were working at the Chicopee High and Chicopee Comp Sword game and saw a large fight taking place. While the officers were trying to break up the fight, one of the officers was hit in the face, which resulted in the officer calling for backup.

When the fight was separated, it was discovered that someone pulled out a gun and struck a bystander in the face with it. Both 19-year-old Emmanuel Nieves and 19-year-old Anthony Rodriguez were arrested and police found the firearm on Nieves.

According to the statement by Mayor John Vieau, a plan will be implemented to enhance public safety at school events and other events in the city. Those plans include the following:

  • Ensure that students who are suspended from school will not be allowed to attend extracurricular and sporting events. 
  • Increasing the number of school staff who work the crowd at games, especially those games they know will attract more spectators, just to have more people watching for any problems.
  • Making sure that all emergency exits are identified prior to the commencement of a game or an event. 
  • Provide additional professional development to all site managers and support staff.
  • Increase Police presence at all extracurricular school and city events.  

“During the Thanksgiving Day rivalry football game this year, there was a fight that could have easily turned into a tragedy, as one party thought it is okay to bring an illegal gun to family event. Please know that the actions of one individual will not define a school district or ruin the future of a crosstown, football rivalry that dates back to the early 1960’s. 

Last week I met for a roundtable discussion with Interim Superintendent Alvin Morton, Police Chief Patrick Major, Fire Chief Daniel Stamborski, Student Support Services Director Joseph Morissette, Athletic Director Sean Mackin, School Police Resource Officers, the three high school principals, and others to discuss and come up with a strategic plan to ensure the public’s safety at school events and other events in the city. 

While no one was seriously injured, we recognize what could have happened. Our goal is to let everyone know that the City of Chicopee is committed to keeping our school district and our community safe. It is important that all students understand the extracurricular events are an extension of the school day and that the same rules apply. 

I want to reassure the public that their safety is of the utmost importance to myself, the Chicopee Police and our School District and we continue to seek out the ways to keep everyone safe. I am proud of the way this isolated incident was handled by the Chicopee Police, our HS Principals and the support staff last Thursday. Chicopee is looking forward to the social events we all cherish and will continue the extracurricular school events that we all have come to enjoy over the years.”

Chicopee Mayor John Vieau

Officials are still considering requiring IDs at all school functions, using metal detectors and/or wands at event entrances, banning all bags and backpacks, and middle school and younger students to be accompanied by an adult.