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Harrington calls for action in the wake of Springfield's 10th murder

Date: 8/27/2014

LUDLOW – One of the candidates in the state Senate race for the First Hampden-Hampshire District has issued a challenge for his fellow elected officials by asking them, “Where’s the outrage?”

James “Chip” Harrington, Ludlow School Committee member, small business owner and part-time police officer, explained to Reminder Publications that he would hope the 10th murder of the year in Springfield would spur a greater coordinated effort to unite local, state and federal officials as well as the general public in striking back at violent crime.

“This has gone beyond an acceptable level,” Harrington said. “Why is there not a plan?”

If there is a plan, Harrington believes the public should know about it in order to be part of the solution.

Harrington noted that public safety is tied to economic development.

“Our recovery is not rebounding like other parts of the country and the state,” Harrington said.

Harrington was reacting to the death of Keith Gendreau of Agawam on Aug. 22. According to Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney, “Officers from the Springfield Police Department responded to a ‘shots fired’ call. A 911 call came in that shots were fired and a car crashed into a pole right after. Officers Stephen Sicard and Monique McCoy were first on the scene and spoke with the passenger of a 2012 Nissan Frontier that had crashed into a pole near 1156 Allen Street. The passenger, who is a 35-year-old East Longmeadow resident, exclaimed to the arriving officers to please help the driver that he had just been shot. The officers found a 25-year-old male suffering from one gunshot wound to the side of the chest. The officers provided first aid and EMTs arrived right away to take over medical care and transported the victim to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 2:40 a.m.

“The passenger stated to police that they were at the McDonald’s on Allen Street getting food when an unknown vehicle pulled up on the driver side of their vehicle and opened fire. The assailant could only be described as a Hispanic male. The victim then drove out of the lot to get away and crashed into a pole.”

Delaney added, “Detectives have been working on this case around the clock and following leads. No motive for the crime has been given yet. If anyone has any information in regards to this murder they are advised to call the Springfield Police Department's Detective Bureau at 787-6355 or to ‘Text-a-Tip.’”

Harrington said, “I have called for 50 more police officers and I will be a partner with the city to help fund those positions; but first the mayor and City Council must recognize that this is a priority and look within the city budget to make this happen. I am not afraid to say that the safety of our community takes precedence over other items like raising the trash fee for libraries and pay raises for the City Council."

He continued, “I have also called for legislation to expand the witness protection program to include street level crime. We cannot expect witnesses to step forward if they feel they will become a target by assisting in a investigation. I support the provisions in the newly passed gun bill that target those who traffic illegal guns into our state and stricter laws for those who unlawfully use a firearm to terrorize our community. As a police officer myself, I will be a strong voice in the State Senate for doing what works to make our communities safer.”

Harrington said, “This not a Democratic thing. This is a not a Republican thing. This is a Western Massachusetts thing.”