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Inside the argument that led a judge to agree a Pittsfield man poses a danger

handgun and bullets against a red background

A 16-year-old male juvenile was arrested last week in connection with a shooting on Brierwood Lane that left one man seriously injured. Police said he was in possession of the .32-caliber handgun shown in this photo at the time of his arrest. Keyondre Taft was also arrested in connection with the incident, and was ordered held without bail after a dangerousness hearing Friday in Central Berkshire District Court. 

PITTSFIELD — A 19-year-old city man who authorities have implicated in a shooting that left another young man seriously injured was deemed dangerous by a judge Friday.

Keyondre Taft, of Tyler Street, is facing charges in Central Berkshire District Court in connection with a shooting in Pittsfield on April 26.

After a dangerousness hearing, Judge Paul Smyth agreed to a request by Deputy District Attorney Richard Dohoney to hold Taft without the right to bail for up to 120 days.

Taft is also being held in custody on an alleged probation violation stemming from a previous case that involved a “similar gun charge,” according to Dohoney. That issue will be adjudicated at a probation violation hearing.

Dohoney argued no conditions of Taft’s release exist to ensure public safety.

According to Dohoney, Taft is accused of taking part in a “joint venture” with two juveniles to shoot an 18-year-old man. He said Taft and the juveniles “stalked and tracked down” the victim during the “exceedingly violent” incident.

Dohoney alleged “at least one, and probably two” firearms were used in the shooting about 5 p.m. on Brierwood Lane.

The victim was seriously injured. He tried to drive himself to the hospital, but crashed into a utility pole on Pecks Road, Dohoney said. Police recovered 22 rounds from the scene and observed bullet holes in the victim’s car.

Police reviewed surveillance footage from Carr Hardware, according to Dohoney. Officer Anthony Lizotte testified as an identification witness for prosecutors and said that Taft was the person captured on the store’s surveillance system purchasing blue latex gloves the day of the shooting.

“I’ve been dealing with Keyondre and his friends almost on a nightly basis,” Lizotte said.

Dohoney said witnesses told investigators the “shooters” were wearing that type of gloves. A box of them and the receipt were found in a suspect vehicle.

“This was a clear, premeditated armed assault with murderous intent,” Dohoney said.

Defense lawyer Dean Manuel argued for Taft’s release from pretrial custody, arguing Officer Lizotte’s identification was tainted by confirmation bias. Manuel asked for pretrial release with conditions including a GPS bracelet and curfew.

Two juveniles, ages 16 and 17, are also being held in custody without the right to bail in connection with the shooting, according to Dohoney.

The Pittsfield Police Department recently called attention to a series of shootings in the city and issued a statement asking that “community leaders take a strong stance against gun violence and condemn the possession and use of illegal firearms.”

In a press release Friday, Berkshire District Attorney Andrea Harrington said “all individuals Pittsfield Police charged in recent shootings” are in pretrial custody.

She said her office worked to build trust in neighborhoods “most impacted by gun violence and oppressed by a history of systemic racism.”

“We hope the Pittsfield Police Department’s similar efforts are successful so that we obtain the evidence we need to meet our burden of proof in court,” Harrington said in the statement.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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