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Undercover Massachusetts Police Detective Shot In Face During Stakeout

New Bedford, MA – An undercover New Bedford police detective drove himself to the hospital after a gunman shot him in the face while he was sitting in his unmarked vehicle on Monday night.

The incident occurred in the area of Orchard Street and Rivet Street on the city’s South End at approximately 8:45 p.m. on July 17, WCVB reported.

New Bedford Police Department (NBPD) Organized Crime Intelligence Bureau Detective Lavar Gilbert was working an undercover detail when someone shot through the driver’s side window of his unmarked unit, according to police.

The bullet shattered the window before striking the veteran detective in the face, WCVB reported.

At least one home on Orchard Street was also hit by the gunfire.

Police said the detective did not return fire.

Det. Gilbert was able to maintain consciousness and drove himself to St. Luke’s Hospital, where he was listed in stable condition on Tuesday.

“Lavar Gilbert is doing well, remarkably,” New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell told CBS News on Tuesday. “It was an extremely close call. We’re talking about matters of inches. This was much less than an inch in terms of the risk of doing much, much more damage.”

Police said a man showed up at the hospital emergency room with a gunshot wound to his foot shortly after Det. Gilbert’s arrival at the medical facility.

The circumstances surrounding how the man incurred his injury remain under investigation, CBS News reported.

His identity was not released.

No one has been arrested in connection with the incident, WCVB reported.

Police said they do not believe Det. Gilbert was specifically targeted.

They said they also don’t believe there is any ongoing threat to safety in the neighborhood of Goulart Square, CBS News reported.

NBPD Chief Paul Oliveira said receiving a call that one of his officers had been shot is a notification no police chief ever wants to get.

“I’m extremely grateful that our detective is expected to recover,” Chief Oliveira said in a statement, according to WBTS. “This is a stark reminder of the dangers that the men and women of law enforcement face on a daily basis as they keep our citizens safe.”

“We are very thankful for the outpouring of support from members of the community, as well as the many law enforcement agencies who have reached out,” he continued. “Please keep our detective and his family in your thoughts as he continues to heal.”

Resident Robert Jardin said he was just getting home from work when he heard four or five gunshots coming from about a block away, according to WCVB.

He and his wife rushed inside with two young girls who were running for cover.

“There was a couple young girls, you know, running, you know pretty frazzled,” Jardin told WCVB. “So, I just, you know, my wife and I asked them, you know, if they wanted to come in the house and then we ended up bringing them home afterwards.”

Mitchell said the NBPD is “aggressively investigating” the incident with the assistance of state and federal law enforcement, WBTS reported.

“I have full confidence that they will apprehend whoever was responsible for the shooting,” the mayor said. “This is a reminder of the risks police officers face every day, and the importance of their work in maintaining public safety in our cities.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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