CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A woman is now facing several firearm charges in connection with a suicide-homicide on Berkshire Avenue in Springfield earlier this month.

Monica Sanchez, appearing before a judge at Springfield District Court Wednesday afternoon. The 32 year-old Springfield resident, pleading not guilty to several charges of improper storage of a firearm, weeks after her boyfriend, Victor Nieves, opened fire on an unsuspected family before shooting himself.

“Although the closet space in the basement where the guns were kept had a padlock, she actively left the key in a space easily accessible to Mr. Nieves,” says the Prosecution Attorney.

Sanchez has eight firearms registered to her name, five of which could not be found and never reported stolen to police. The other three firearms, found improperly stored, two located within her residence and another improperly stored in an hidden spot in the basement of the apartment building.

In a statement from Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gullini, he said the deadly incident at Berkshire Avenue was preventable, if the proper precautions were in place.

Gulluni goes on to say, “Gun ownership comes with immense responsibility. Needless and senseless gun violence and suicides can be reduced when people in crisis do not have access to firearms.”

Spokesperson for Springfield Police, Ryan Walsh, telling 22News, “We do not want anyone, whether they are children or unlicensed individuals to get their hands on firearms.”

The Springfield Police Department urging licensed gun owners to securely store their firearms, so it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. “The damage that is done to families, its irreparable,” Walsh adds. “And it often leads, in these situations, to a lot of suicides when firearms are not stored properly.”

Trigger locks are a simple and affordable option for preventing a gun from being loaded or fired by an unauthorized user. Gun cases also come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and price ranges.

Sanchez bail has been set at $40,000 cash. She is expected back in court on September 27th.

Local News

Kristina D’Amours is a reporter who is a part of the evening 22News team. Follow Kristina on X @KristinaD_WWLP and view her bio to see more of her work.