A short time later a Springfield Police Officer observed a suspect (Gonzalez) on Chapin Terrace who matched the description given from the armed robbery. When the officer approached Gonzalez he engaged with the officer and a struggle ensured. A good Samaritan, Pedro Perez, was driving by and saw the officer in distress. Perez asked if the officer needed help, jumped out of his vehicle and attempted, along with the officer, to restrain the suspect. Gonzalez was able to grab ahold of the officer’s service pistol as an assisting officer arrived.
With two officers and the good Samaritan attempting to disarm Gonzalez he was able to fire two rounds with the service pistol. One round struck his own hand and another hit Perez’ truck. Both shots narrowly missed both officers and Perez. Officers were then able to get the firearm out of Gonzalez’ hand and place him under arrest. Officers immediately provided first aid to Gonzalez who was transported to Baystate for treatment of his injuries. The first officer from this incident was also transported to Baystate for treatment. Officers recovered a large knife and the cash stolen from Metro PCS on Gonzalez.
Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood stated, “Without the help of Mr. Perez there undoubtedly would have been a much different outcome to this incident. His actions in all likelihood saved the lives of two Springfield Police Officers. This dangerous suspect had zero regard for anyone’s livelihood and my officers involved put their lives on the line to prevent this individual from causing any additional harm. These officers displayed a degree of professionalism and bravery that their families, our fellow officers and the residents of the city they serve should be extremely proud of.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood and I are thankful that the initial responding officer was not seriously hurt and I have wished the officer a speedy recovery and encouragement – ‘The officer showed a tremendous amount of restraint’. This incident could have ended very differently but thanks to the efforts from this good Samaritan, Pedro Perez, who was in the right place at the right time, he was able to provide assistance to our officers who were trying to detain the suspect. When I called Mr. Perez to thank him, he simply and humbly stated this was the way he was brought up to help those in need. Once again, we see that these criminals have little to no regard for the safety or lives of our residents or our brave and dedicated police officers. If this suspect was successful in wrestling the officers service pistol and if Mr. Perez wasn’t there to assist, I have no doubts that this violent criminal suspect would have taken the lives of our officers and anyone else that was in his way. Police Superintendent Clapprood and I hope that our courts do the right thing and take this incident seriously and hold this dangerous suspect and not release him back onto our streets and into our neighborhoods to cause more mayhem. He has already shown that he was willing to use a gun to hurt our SPD officers and anyone else nearby. Unfortunately, Mr. Perez’s truck was a victim and was hit by a bullet. I want to give a shout out to Mastroianni’s Auto Body, who after my office reached out, stepped up upon hearing about this incident and offering to fix Mr. Perez’s truck and provide him with transportation until it is fixed – simply put, this is a tremendous showing of community spirit!”
Mastroianni’s Auto Body on Taylor Street has generously offered to fix Mr. Perez’ car for free and provide him with transportation until the job is completed.
41-year-old Joseph Gonzalez of Springfield is charged with:
- Armed & Masked Robbery
- Firearm-Armed Assault to Murder (3 Counts)
- Discharging a Firearm within 500 Feet of a Building
- Assault & Battery to Disarm a Police Officer
- Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony
- Possession of Ammunition without a FID Card
- Larceny of a Firearm
- Resisting Arrest
- Malicious Damage to a Motor Vehicle
- Assault & Battery
- Assault & Battery on a Police Officer (2 Counts)