Springfield, MA – The Springfield Police Department released city surveillance camera video of a bizarre scene on Sunday night involving an armed suspect who was pointing a gun at police and civilians (video below).
The incident began at about 7:25 p.m. on June 20 when ShotSpotter notified police that five gunshots had been fired on High Street, WWLP reported.
A surveillance camera mounted on a pole nearby captured video as the gunman – later identified as 43-year-old Jose Montanez – walked down the middle of the street with a pistol in his right hand.
The video showed Montanez waving the gun in the air and pointing the gun at people outside the camera frame.
Another man followed him and seemed to be trying to get him to stop what he was doing, but video showed Montanez held his gun behind his back and went toe-to-toe with him.
Just then, a Springfield police SUV rounded the corner onto the street where Montanez and the man were standing, the video showed.
Montanez took off running at a leisurely pace, the video showed, looking back at the police SUV and occasionally pointing his gun at them.
The video showed officers pursued the gunman on foot down the street and up a hill and he periodically turned and waved his gun at them and appeared to be making fun of them.
About the same time he got to the top of the hill and disappeared behind the High School of Commerce on State Street, additional officers arrived on the scene and joined in the foot pursuit.
Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh said Montanez tossed his gun onto school property before officers caught up and detained him, WWLP reported.
Officers recovered the pistol, which had been reported stolen out of Ludlow.
Police said Montanez had an additional loaded magazine in his waistband, WWLP reported.
Walsh said the officers had not fired at Montanez when he pointed his gun at them because they were able to see that the slide was locked back on Montanez’s pistol, indicating the gun might be out of ammunition.
But even the Springfield police commissioner acknowledged it had been a close call, WWLP reported.
“The outcome of this call is a huge credit to all of the officers on scene who showed incredible and courageous restraint in this situation, and, due to their keen observation during a fast-moving incident, were able to avoid an officer-involved-shooting,” Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said. “Reloading or moving the slide forward only takes a moment and likely would have had a much different end result.”
“The brazen actions of this suspect put in jeopardy the lives of our officers, several bystanders and himself and is an example of some of the most unpredictable, volatile and dangerous calls our officers respond to,” Commissioner Clapprood said. “This situation could have changed at any moment, and we are fortunate it ended as it did.”
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno also praised the officers’ restraint but expressed frustration with increasing violent crime, WWLP reported.
“After reviewing this most chilling video, these officers showed tremendous restraint in not firing their weapons in this foot chase to subdue this violent offender, who was firing off his gun and pointing at officer’s numerous times,” Sarno said.
“Those officers and residents were put in harm’s way and a very traumatic situation – they could have been injured or God forbid killed,” the mayor continued. “Is this what it is coming to? Our courts are holding no one accountable, especially repeat violent criminal offenders who are allowed to run roughshod on our streets and neighborhoods, while our brave and dedicated men and women in blue risk their lives with arrest after arrest after arrest to keep all our residents and business community safe.”
“Now the big question – will our courts hold him or just ‘pat him on the head’ and release him right back to our streets and in our neighborhoods!” he asked.
Police recovered shell casings in the area where the gunfire activated the ShotSpotter, but no injuries from the incident have been reported, WWLP reported.
Montanez was arrested and charged with carrying a firearm without a license, carrying a loaded firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, assault with a danger weapon, carrying a dangerous weapon on school grounds, possession of ammunition without a FID card, receiving stolen property less than $1200, and disturbing the peace.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: