SPRINGFIELD (CBS) – A man has been arrested and charged with shooting a Massachusetts State Police Trooper in Springfield on New Year’s Eve.
Investigators say 31-year-old Christopher Gardner of Springfield was in a shootout with another man in a parking lot near Nursery and Stafford streets around 11:15 p.m. Thursday. The gunfire triggered a shot-spotter alert and Springfield and State Police responded.
When they arrived, police said Gardner fired two rounds at their cruisers. A 26-year-old trooper, who has not been identified, was hit by a bullet in his left leg after the round passed through part of his cruiser.
The wounded trooper rushed was to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield with what were described as “non-life threatening” injuries. He was treated and released.
Springfield Police arrested Gardner a short time later. He was treated at a hospital for an injury to his foot, which was believed to have happened during the initial shootout. Police have not found the other man involved in that.
Gardner is facing several charges including two counts of armed assault with intent to murder. He’s being held on $150,000 cash bail and will be arraigned Monday in Springfield District Court.
The wounded trooper graduated from the State Police Academy in May and has been working out of the Springfield barracks.
“I commend our Trooper for his proactive response to the shot-spotter alert that led to his being shot. He rushed to a scene where he knew violence was occurring, in order to investigate and end a threat to public safety,” State Police Superintendent Colonel Christopher Mason said in a statement.
“I am also extremely grateful to the Springfield officer who cared for our injured Trooper at the scene, to Trooper Caron, who rushed to his fellow Trooper’s aid and took him to the hospital, and to the medical professionals who cared for him there.”
Mason said the shooting “once again underscores the dangers faced on any given shift by Massachusetts State Troopers and all police officers who protect our communities.”
“Again we are reminded — as if any reminder was necessary— that no tour of duty is routine or predictable for law enforcement officers. We will continue to investigate the incident, work with prosecutors to hold the suspected shooter accountable for his actions, and provide all necessary support to the Trooper who was injured.”