A Massachusetts State Police Trooper, while on patrol on Interstate 91 northbound in Springfield, early Sunday morning witnessed a vehicle-to-vehicle shooting, then pursued the assailants by motor vehicle and by foot before taking two of them into custody at gunpoint.
A third suspect was arrested a short time ago after seeking treatment for injuries he suffered in his attempted flight.
Massachusetts State Trooper Patrick Dolan arrested the first two assailants, both of them Springfield men, after the car they were in, a 2016 Honda Accord, crashed into a guardrail after exiting Route 391 in Chicopee. A third assailant, who was not located despite an intensive search by patrols, K-9 units, and the State Police Air Wing, is believed to have fled into the Chicopee River.
The male victim of the shooting, the operator of a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup, was located by Springfield Police in the area of Union Station in that city, at the intersection of Dwight Street and Franklin B. Murray Street. The victim was transported to Baystate Medical Center with life threatening injuries, and he remains in dire condition.
The incident began at 1:03 a.m. when Trooper Patrick Dolan, on patrol on I-91 north, had just passed Exit 6 when he observed the Honda Accord directly in front of him in the center lane. Trooper Dolan saw the Accord pull even with the white Ford F-150, which was in the right lane.
Trooper Dolan saw a firearm protrude from the passenger side of the Accord, and the Trooper saw and heard several gunshots fired at the pickup.
Trooper Dolan instantaneously activated his cruiser’s emergency lights and attempted to stop the Accord. The driver of the Accord did not stop and fled at a high rate of speed.
Trooper Dolan reported the shooting and advised that he was in pursuit of the suspect vehicle. MSP Troop B Headquarters assumed command and control of the pursuit.
The Trooper pursued the vehicle from I-91 onto Route 391 northbound. The suspect vehicle, still traveling at a high rate of speed, exited Route 391 at Exit 3 in Chicopee. The Trooper followed onto the exit ramp and saw the Accord had crashed into a guardrail at the bottom of the ramp in Chicopee Street. Trooper Dolan saw three suspects run from the crash into the wood line at the side of the road. He ordered them to stop running but they did not comply.
Moments later two of the suspects emerged from the woods onto the sidewalk and continued running away. Trooper Dolan again gave chase and ordered the men to the ground. The two men complied and were taken into custody by Trooper Dolan and Trooper Tyler Staback, who had responded to assist.
Meanwhile, numerous State Police, Chicopee Police and Springfield Police units converged on the scene. Troopers and officers set up a perimeter and began a search, utilizing patrols, two K9 units, and the MSP Air Wing.
Troopers located a loaded Glock 19 handgun inside the Accord. K-9 units from the MSP and Springfield Police tracked from the car to an area a short distance into the woods. There, Troopers and Officers locates a loaded Taurus 9 handgun on the ground. Both weapons were documented and secured as evidence. The Glock was determined to have been stolen out of Enfield, Conn.
A K9 also tracked to the edge of the Chicopee River. An MSP Air Wing helicopter flight crew, using an onboard infrared camera, also was able to track a heat signature, consistent with that a person would leave, to the area along the river south of Chicopee Street. An intensive search of the area did not locate the third suspect at that time.
The two arrested suspects were transported to State Police-Springfield. They are identified as Isaiah Fraticelli, 18, and Luis Cotto, 22, both of Springfield They were each booked on the following charges:
1. Armed Assault with Intent to Murder;
2. Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon;
3. Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (2 counts), and
4. Unlawful Possession of Ammunition.
Ongoing investigation into the shooting led to the arrest of a third suspect, Keith Cotto, 24, of Springfield. Cotto was arrested after Troopers learned he was at Mercy Medical Center being treated for injuries believed to have been suffered during his attempt to evade capture. He was booked at State Police-Springfield on the same charges as the other suspects and will be transported to the regional lockup, where Fraticelli and Luis Cotto are already being held. All three men are expected to be arraigned Monday in Springfield District Court. Charges are expected to be upgraded if the victim succumbs to his injuries.