January 29 2015

– Springfield’s “ShotSpotter” gunshot detection and location system works well during windy snow storms.

The system assisted police in the seizure of an illegal handgun from a known felon on Tuesday night.

Police responded to 72 Melrose St. at about 11:50 p.m. after the system alerted officers that three gunshots had just been fired near that address, which was known to detectives as a felon had been living there, according to Springfield police Sgt. John Delaney.

Officers John Wadlegger and Anthony Bedinelli, joined by Lt. Dave Martin responded and spoke with a woman who was outside in the area. She said that she heard three shots fired nearby 72 Melrose St.

Police entered the multi-family dwelling and made their way up to the second floor where they encountered 27-year-old Maurice Baker, who was known to police.

“The officers conducted a pat frisk for their safety and when they were doing so, Mr. Baker stated that he just ‘found’ a gun and decided to try it out by shooting it off on the roof,” Delaney said.

The officers were allowed entry into the apartment and found a 9 mm semi-automatic handgun that had just been fired. They also discovered 28 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

“Detective Mel Kwatowski responded and found three shell casings on the roof where Baker fired off his new found gun,” Delaney said. “Mr. Baker would have been better off shoveling the snowflakes instead of shooting at them.”

Police charged Baker, of 72 Melrose St. with carrying a firearm without a permit, possession of ammunition without a license and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling.

ShotSpotter technology speeds up the response time of police, something that is key to decreasing gunfire in a community. When a gunshot is fired, the sound is picked up by multiple sensors in the area that then use acoustic triangulation to determine the origin of the shot down to about 10 feet. Information is relayed to the mobile computers in police cruisers and to the police dispatcher.

The ShotSpotter detection system was initially installed in the Springfield area in July 2008. It costs about $200,000 to install per square mile.

Baker will be arraigned today in Springfield District Court.

– Chris Rueli


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