Details emerge about fatal Tyler Street shooting, investigation


PITTSFIELD — When police arrived outside Chewy's Barber Shop about 1 p.m. on July 31, they found one man lying face down and unresponsive and a second man nearby who was shot multiple times, losing blood and begging officers not to let him die.

Both men were transported from the Tyler Street scene to nearby Berkshire Medical Center, where Keenan Pellot, 18, of Pittsfield, was pronounced dead. The second man, a 17-year-old city resident whose identity has not been released, underwent surgery for "multiple" gunshot wounds, according to a report written by Pittsfield Police Detective Kim Bertelli-Hunt.

Newly unsealed documents, obtained by The Berkshire Eagle, shed light on some details of the shooting, which was reported outside 147 Tyler St.

The alleged shooter, Thomas Lee Newman Jr., 19, of Pittsfield, was arrested days later in New York. He is currently being held without bail and awaiting trial on charges of murder, armed assault to murder and unlicensed possession of a firearm.

The surviving victim identified Newman as the person who opened fire on the pair, according to the police report.

An investigation gleaned that Newman had allegedly threatened the younger victim the day before the shooting.

A witness told investigators he was in the barber shop at the time of the shooting and gave a description of the shooter as a black male with frizzy hair, pulled back into a bun, wearing a white top and holding a black handgun.

Police said that description matched Newman's appearance.

The witness said he heard at least five shots and saw the gunman standing in the doorway of the barber shop and firing out toward the parking lot.

Newman then fled to Utica, N.Y., where he was arrested before being transported back to Pittsfield for arraignment.

Police obtained Newman's cellphone records, which indicated it was being used in upstate New York.

The documents do not clarify a motive, but in the days following the shooting, Pellot's mother, Carey Pilot, told The Eagle that Newman was dating Pellot's sister and that she believed the shooting resulted from a "family issue."

Pilot said the two had known each other since they were babies.

On the day of the shooting, Mike Williams, an outreach worker with Pittsfield Community Connection, said he suspected the incident was somehow gang-related. In the court files, Newman was identified by Pittsfield Police as a validated member of the Crips gang.

In seeking the arrest warrant for Newman, police noted a litany of prior charges against him including armed assault with intent to murder, assault with a handgun, assault and battery and witness intimidation.

Newman was arraigned on his most recent charges in Berkshire Superior Court on Aug. 31, 2015, and is due back in court for a pre-trial hearing on March 8.

If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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