Photo Gallery | Police search BMC Medical Arts Complex
PITTSFIELD — A gunman is in custody after prompting a massive police response and lockdown at Berkshire Medical Center on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.
Dylan Ducharme, 20, was seen running into the BMC Medical Arts Complex shortly after he allegedly fired a shot on Hull Avenue about 11:45 a.m.
Both the main hospital and complex went into lockdown and all available police personnel, including the Berkshire County Special Response Team, were called in to help search for the suspect.
"Cops came flying in with their guns out and dogs right beside them," said Evelyn Thomas, a dialysis patient who was waiting for a ride outside the complex with Tammy Silverio, also a patient. "We learned a little bit later that there was a shooter in the hospital."
"We were scared," Silverio said. "We're in wheelchairs; two open targets."
Witnesses told police they saw Ducharme flee shortly after hearing the gunshot on Hull Avenue, Wynn said. Nobody was injured by the shot.
"Two witnesses saw the subject enter the Medical Arts Complex at BMC, but nobody was able to confirm that he left," Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn said. "Because of the number of patients in the building, we had to do a room-by-room search."
Wynn added, "While they were searching the building, about two-thirds through it, we received intelligence information that the subject was in a vehicle. We were in contact with a witness who had been in contact with [Ducharme]. We were able to ascertain where he was. That vehicle was stopped on Second Street, [the suspect] was arrested, and we ceased the [BMC] operation."
Pittsfield Police and a cadre of state and local first responders were seen embracing in relief after receiving word of the arrest of the suspect about 12:45 p.m.
Authorities did not recover a firearm on Ducharme or inside the silver Toyota Camry he was driving. The whereabouts of the gun remains "under investigation," police said.
In a statement released by Wynn shortly after the incident, police said "evidence gathered at the scene confirmed a shooting had taken place."
Ducharme was charged with single counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, unlawful possession of a firearm and assault and battery.
Multiple state, local and off-duty law enforcement helped out on the response, Wynn said.
"There [were] offices that had patients in them that could not lock down or evacuate," Wynn said. "Patients who were on campus and wanted to leave were allowed to leave, but we stopped all vehicle traffic onto the campus."
He added, "Fortunately, we've been drilling with [BMC parent company] Berkshire Health Systems for a number of years. We knew what we were going to do."
"It was a great response by everybody involved," Berkshire County Sheriff Thomas Bowler said. "They took care of the threat, kept the hospital and the public safe. It was a job well done."
"We couldn't have done it without our partners with the state police and the sheriff's department, who were outstanding," Wynn said.
Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.