When a Massachusetts State Trooper yesterday captured a suspect who fled from a stolen car in Plymouth, the suspect refused to give his name, resisted arrest, spit on the Trooper, and said he was COVID-19 positive.
The suspect continued to spit in the cruiser during transport to the State Police-Norwell Barracks and defecated in the cruiser and the barracks’ booking area.
According to Dave Procopio of the Massachusetts State Police, Troopers at the Barracks donned full-body personal protective equipment to gain control of the hostile suspect in the holding cell and fingerprint him. An MSP Crime Scene Services Trooper eventually was able to identify the suspect by fingerprints as Hamza Conner, 29, of Boston. Conner was charged with motor vehicle offenses, making threats, witness intimidation, refusing to identify himself, vandalism, and resisting arrest.
After booking, Conner was transferred to the Norfolk County jail in Dedham to be held pending arraignment. After determining the suspect’s true identity and address Troopers checked his name against a public health database in the city of Boston, where he lives, and determined he had never been tested for COVID-19. Upon transfer to the jail the suspect was determined to be showing no coronavirus symptoms and went through intake protocols. He has not yet been tested for COVID-19.
The sequence of events began shortly after 10 a.m. Tuesday when Braintree Police advised area departments that they were looking for a white Ford Explorer stolen from a pet supply store parking lot. A pet dog belonging to the owner, a Quincy man, was in the car when the vehicle was stolen.
At approximately 10:50 a.m. yesterday a Trooper working a detail on Route 3 southbound in Kingston was almost struck by the stolen vehicle as it travelled past him at a high rate of speed. Another Trooper ahead of the fleeing suspect deployed a tire deflation device across Route 3; the spike strips impacted two of the Explorer’s tires but the vehicle kept traveling southbound on Route 3.
Troopers initiated a pursuit. The Explorer was involved in a crash on the ramp from Route 3 southbound to Route 44 westbound, and the occupant fled on foot toward Commerce Way in Plymouth. Troopers began searching for the suspect.
At approximately 11:15 a.m. a Trooper located the suspect on foot on Industrial Park Way in Plymouth. The suspect immediately become unruly and resistant, said he was COVID positive, and refused to identify himself. The suspect then spit at the Trooper as he was taken into custody and continued to spit inside the cruiser during transport. He also defecated in the back of the cruiser and in the barracks.
A hazardous waste cleanup company was contacted to clean the cruiser and the barracks. Three Troopers involved in taking the suspect into custody and then controlling him at the barracks were put on a brief leave and will be monitored for symptoms. The Department will be attempting to have Conner tested for COVID-19.
The dog that was in the vehicle when it was stolen was located yesterday in Somerville and has been reunited with his family. At this time we believe the suspect drove to the Boston area after stealing the vehicle and left the dog there. We are also investigating whether the vehicle was involved in a crash in or around Boston during that time.
Suspect Conner was expected to be remotely arraigned today in Plymouth District Court.