State Trooper shot in Chicopee, suspect dead
CHICOPEE, Mass. (WHDH) -- Police say a standoff that started with the shooting of a state trooper in Chicopee has ended with the death of the suspected gunman.
Authorities say State Trooper John Vasquez, 44 years old and a 20-year veteran of the State Police, was shot in his hand and leg right while getting out of his cruiser during a police shootout with a man standing outside a house in Chicopee.
“He was running and firing at the same time,” said Kacy Collins, a witness. “Like crazy. Firing, running, firing, running, firing, running, firing.”
The shooting reportedly happened on West Street at around 8 a.m. Friday. Three Chicopee officers and two state troopers, including Trooper Vasquez, responded to a call for what police say was shots fired at a home invasion inside the house.
Authorities believe Trooper Vasquez was shot just as he was getting out of his cruiser.
Police say a woman – possibly the suspect’s girlfriend – and a little boy were inside the home, but escaped unharmed.
After several minutes of gunfire, police sent a robot into the building, and discovered the gunman was dead.
A witness happened to be walking down the street when the incident unfolded.
“I was walking by the house and I saw some big gun run out saying ‘Get away from me, get away from me!’” said the witness. “He had his car keys in his hand and he was running for his life to his car. The next thing I know I hear three gunshots pop out of the window -- he was shooting at the guy. I actually heard the bullets flying over my head.”
“A hundred shots at least.,” said Chip Stevens, a witness. First there was just a couple – pop, pop, pop – and then it just seemed to let loose.”
A school bus with the driver, one student, and one bus monitor inside, was nearby at the time of the shooting, but they were able to get to a safe location.
“Shots were being fired, and the Chicopee police officer with a shield went on the bus and got them off,” said Chicopee Mayor Michael Bissonnette.
A local school was locked down as a precaution during the standoff. Several downtown streets in Chicopee were also blocked off.
A nearby Dunkin Donuts and a gas station were also hit during the gunfire.
Police have identified the suspect as 41-year-old Carlos Laguer of Springfield. Investigators continue to piece together what led to the deadly confrontation. It is unknown whether the suspect committed suicide or died from injuries from the shootout.
“It’s not surprising to me that John Vasquez was in the middle of this, because John responds when he hears that anyone needs help.” said Colonel Marian McGovern, Massachusetts State Police.
7News was told Trooper Vasquez underwent surgery on Friday and is expected to make a full recovery. He has a wife and teenage son.
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