Pittsfield Fire Department captain facing firearms, assault charges

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PITTSFIELD — A city Fire Department captain is being held without bail amid accusations he assaulted a woman and was in possession of a loaded, unsecured handgun while intoxicated Tuesday night.

Jeffrey Rawson, 56, of Hinsdale is scheduled for a dangerousness hearing on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court to determine if bail should be set and in what amount.

According to Pittsfield Police, officers were dispatched to the Onota Lake boat ramp about 9:33 p.m. for multiple reports of a man and woman fighting.

Officers arrived and were directed by witnesses to a white BMW leaving the parking lot.

Police stopped the car and found Rawson driving and a woman lying down in the back seat.

Police also spotted an unsecured black Smith and Wesson Bodyguard 380 sub-compact pistol on the floorboard behind the passenger seat.

Police said the magazine was loaded, but there was no round in the chamber.

The woman in the back seat had a swollen forehead and blood on her face from a pair of cuts, police said.

Rawson allegedly told officers the woman had fallen in the parking lot and he was attempting to administer first aid.

The woman told police she and Rawson had gotten into an argument while boating on the lake and he grabbed her head and slammed it into the body of the boat and punched her several times.

Police described the alleged victim as "clearly terrified," and they, "could see the fear in her eyes."

The victim allegedly began shaking during her recounting of the incident on the lake and passed out, but was caught by police, who called for medical assistance.

She was taken to Berkshire Medical Center for treatment.

Police said Rawson showed signs of intoxication including slurred speech and glassy eyes, and officers allegedly found a nearly empty bottle of Fireball whisky behind the front passenger seat of the car.

While being read his Miranda rights, Rawson allegedly told police he had nothing to say and that he wanted a lawyer.

Rawson was represented at his arraignment by attorney Mark T. Brennan, according to court files. While being transported to the station, Rawson allegedly asked police what effect the incident would have on his license to carry a firearm. Officers informed him it was a matter for the licensing authority.

Rawson also allegedly expressed concerns about the incident affecting his employment and military status. According to state and federal records, Rawson has served as a U.S. Navy Reservist.

Pittsfield Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski said Wednesday he was aware of the charges, but declined comment on the matter, noting it is both a criminal and personnel issue.

Czerwinski said more information from the department may be forthcoming as the case progresses.

The fire chief also said the department is consulting with the city's labor attorney to determine what action should be taken regarding Rawson's employment status.

Mayor Linda Tyer also declined comment Wednesday, noting concerns similar to Czerwinski's.

"I have been made aware of the situation and at this point it's a criminal matter and a personnel matter, so I'm not comfortable with making a comment at this early stage," she said.

Rawson pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court before Judge William Rota to charges of assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, improper storage of a firearm and being an intoxicated licensee carrying a firearm.

His dangerousness hearing is set for June 3.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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