VIDEO: Springfield Police Department release body-worn camera footage of events after New Years Eve 2020 shooting
SPRINGFIELD – The Springfield Police Department today released body-worn camera footage of an incident last year in which a Massachusetts State Police soldier was allegedly shot and killed by a suspect during a disruption on New Years Eve.
Body camera footage shows officers searching for, locating and arresting the suspect. The arrest takes place at five minutes and 45 seconds. Media should note that profanity can be heard at four minutes and 48 seconds.
At approximately 11:20 p.m. on December 31, 2020, Springfield Police officers responded to Block 100 Nursery Street with a reported disruption. On the way to the scene, there were several ShotSpotter activations indicating more than 10 shots.
Massachusetts State Police Soldier and Springfield Police Officer William Soto arrived at the scene first. Constable Soto heard several shots as he approached Nursery Street. When the suspect, later identified as Christopher Gardner, saw the cruiser arriving, he allegedly began shooting at the Springfield and State Police cruisers. The first soldier to arrive was shot in the leg. Officer Soto’s Springfield police car was also hit by gunfire. Officer Soto was not injured.
Officer Soto informed Springfield Emergency Communications dispatchers that it was on fire and a soldier was shot. He got out of his cruiser and applied a tourniquet to the soldier’s leg. The soldier was transported to a local hospital by another police car from the State Police.
“Officer Soto, who graduated from our Police Academy in 2020, remained calm and communicated clearly and effectively under a high stress situation. He demonstrated excellent decision-making skills using the dumpsters in the parking lot as a cover against gunfire, and showed great instinct in caring for the wounded soldier rather than caring for himself. engage in a prosecution with the suspects, which could have resulted in a worse outcome, ”Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said. “The officers and soldiers who responded worked well together that night, and we are grateful for our continued partnership with the state police. Calls like this are unpredictable and can change dramatically from one second to the next, putting the lives of officers at risk at any time. “
As this situation arose, a K-9 soldier from the Massachusetts State Police observed the suspect, Gardner, running down Nursery Street. Springfield Police officers located Gardner and he was taken into custody without further incident. The search for the suspect was the result of a team effort between the Massachusetts State Police and the Springfield police officers of Squads A and C.
The initial disturbance involved Gardner and an unknown individual allegedly shooting each other. A firearm was later found in the area.
“I would like to congratulate and recognize the professionalism and efforts of Officer Soto not only in responding to a dangerous situation of ‘gunfire’, but also in showing great calm and great instinct in dealing with the state soldier who was shot, “said Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “Like all of our brave and dedicated men and women in blue, our Springfield police officers go above and beyond to protect and serve our community. This incident could have ended differently. The suspect in question had no regard for the lives of our response officers when he opened fire, and he had no consideration for innocent bystanders who may have been caught in his fires. This disregard for human life is appalling and it is time we started to hold these violent repeat offenders accountable for their actions before another innocent life is lost.
These are allegations. All suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.