SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A foot chase involving a detective and an armed suspect resulted in the officer discharging a round from his service weapon on Newland Street back in September, according to bodycam footage released by the Springfield Police Department.
No one was hurt injured and police were able to arrest the suspect, 21-year-old Joseph Mejias of Springfield, the bodycam footage which was released late Friday afternoon shows. Detectives allegedly discovered a firearm after the arrest and Mejias is facing numerous criminal charges.
Springfield Police Department spokesman Ryan Walsh said at 7:55 p.m. on Saturday, September 12, detectives had information that Mejias was in possession of a gun. In an attempt to conduct a traffic stop to detain the suspect and a passenger in the vehicle, Mejias allegedly ran out of the car while holding the gun in his waistband.
Mejias took the gun out of his waistband, and that was when the officer fired one round from his department-issued firearm on Newland Street, Walsh said. The Springfield detective and the suspect were not injured, his bodycam footage shows after the shot was fired.
*This video contains explicit language*
In the video, you can see the detective put the suspect in handcuffs, and then you hear him ask the suspect, “You hit buddy? Hey, are you hit? Are you okay? Are you hit?” You can also see the officer turn Mejias around while checking him for injuries.
You then hear Mejias respond to the officer, “Nah, ya good, ya doing ya job.”
Mejias is facing the following charges:
- Firearm Violation with 3 prior violent/drug crimes
- Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm during the commission of a Felony
- Possession of a Machine Gun
- Carrying a Firearm without a License
- Carrying a Loaded Large Capacity Firearm without a License
- Improper Storage of a Large Capacity Firearm
- Assault with a Dangerous Weapon
- Possession with the Intent to Distribute a Class A Drug
- Operation of a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended License
- Operation of a Motor Vehicle with a Suspended Registration
- Number Plate Violation to conceal ID
Walsh said detectives found the suspect’s firearm, which he threw during the chase, “The firearm had a switch that would turn the semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic machine gun.”
He added, “The footage shows how police officers are often forced to make split-second decisions about the amount of force needed to affect an arrest while operating under tense, dangerous and rapidly changing circumstances.”
While the chase with Mejias was happening, Walsh said other detectives also arrested his passenger, Edwin Rios-Rivera of Springfield, and seized 10 half packs of bundled heroin (500 bags). Rios-Rivera is said to also have five open firearm related offenses and was out on bail from a November 2019 shooting on Marble Street in Springfield.
The police involved shooting is still being investigated by the Springfield Police Detective Bureau and Internal Investigations Unit.
Please note: According to the Springfield Police Department, the first 35 seconds of body camera footage is from a supervisor’s camera as they attempt to apprehend the individuals. The remaining body camera footage is from the detective who discharged his firearm. In real time, these videos occurred nearly simultaneously.
The recorded camera footage provides a perspective from the officer’s location and does not have any technological enhancements such as facial recognition or night vision.