SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WPRI) — Police have arrested the man accused of shooting a Massachusetts State Police trooper on New Year’s Eve.
Massachusetts State Police said Christopher Gardner, 31, of Springfield, is facing a series of charges, including two counts of armed assault with intent to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery by discharge of a firearm.
The incident occurred just before 11:30 on Nursery Street. Police said the 26-year-old trooper was responding to a report of shots fired in the area when he was shot in the leg.
Police said Gardner reportedly fired two rounds at the trooper’s cruiser and another occupied by a Springfield Police officer. The other officer was not injured and immediately began rendering aid to the trooper.
A second trooper arrived on scene shortly after and drove the injured trooper to Baystate Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Police said he will remain on injured leave while he recovers.
Following a brief foot pursuit, Gardner was taken into custody.
Police believe Gardner had been exchanging gunfire with another man, who has not yet been identified or located, in the area prior to the trooper’s arrival.
That exchange of gunfire, which police believe led to a minor injury on Gardner’s foot, is also under investigation.
“I commend our trooper for his proactive response to the shot-spotter alert that led to his being shot,” Col. Christopher Mason said in a statement. “He rushed to a scene where he knew violence was occurring in order to investigate and end a threat to public safety.”
“Again we are reminded — as if any reminder was necessary— that no tour of duty is routine or predictable for law enforcement officers,” he continued. “We will continue to investigate the incident, work with prosecutors to hold the suspected shooter accountable for his actions, and provide all necessary support to the trooper who was injured.”