PITTSFIELD — Authorities alleged in a police report released Wednesday that narcotics were found under a vehicle near where a local man was arrested after a daytime shooting that did not cause any injuries.
The report was released following the District Court arraignment of Chad Hooks, 32, on firearm and drug trafficking charges.
Hooks, who also has armed robbery and drug charges pending in Berkshire Superior Court, was ordered held without bail by Judge Paul Smyth until a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Tuesday.
Police allege Hooks fired rounds in the area of Madison and Daniels avenues at about 1:25 p.m. Tuesday, which triggered the city’s ShotSpotter gunfire detection system and spurred a chase.
A witness told Officer David Carusotto that he looked outside after hearing the shots and saw a man walking away while holding his waistband as though something was tucked into it. Carusotto spotted a man matching the witness’ description sprint around the corner onto Danforth Avenue and get into the passenger seat of a black Ford F-150 with New York plates, according to the officer’s report.
The unidentified operator of the truck failed to stop when Carusotto tried to pull it over, the officer wrote, and the officer pursued the truck to the parking lot of Carr Hardware on North Street. According to the report, the suspect who police later identified as Hooks bailed from the truck and took off running.
Police allege Hooks jumped the fence behind Walgreens, hopped another fence behind a Linden Street address into a snowbank in the parking lot of Barrington Stage Company’s Blatt Center. Carusotto spotted Hooks running, got out of his cruiser and drew his weapon, ordering Hooks several times to put his hands up, according to the report.
Hooks allegedly ignored the commands, and instead “turned around with his hands underneath him and fell [facedown] in between a snowbank and the front bumper of a car,” Carusotto wrote in the report. Hooks, out of breath and with a “fresh cut on his arm and hand,” then surrendered.
Police Lt. Thomas Dawley found a 9-mm Smith & Wesson semi-automatic handgun loaded with three rounds in the snow near the Barrington Stage Company fence, according to the report. Carusotto wrote that there were traces of fresh blood in the snow next to the firearm.
Hooks was having trouble breathing and was taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center. Police said he did not want to be medically evaluated and was booked at the police station.
Carusotto alleges that a drug-sniffing dog led officers back to the car whose bumper Hooks fell in front of as authorities closed in, and found a clear plastic bag with more than 21 grams of crack cocaine.
Hooks was under investigation by the Pittsfield Police Department Anti-Crime Unit for alleged drug dealing back in January, when police got a warrant to search his residence at 5 Capri Terrace, according to a separate police report. Authorities said heroin and crack cocaine packaged for street-level sales, and other items, were recovered in the raid.
“Hooks made 5 Capri [Terrace] a one-stop shop for drug addicts by having a variety of drugs on hand and readily available,” wrote Officer Thomas J. Bowler.
According to report published in the New York Times, a jury in 2012 acquitted Hooks, formerly of Harlem and Englewood, N.J., on all charges after he was accused of shooting to death a 21-year-old in a hallway of a building in the Bronx. Hooks maintained his innocence and had been incarcerated for nearly four years at Rikers Island before his trial.
The paper reported that the “defense said Mr. Hooks was an innocent man who had been tormented to the point of ruin by his wait for justice. The prosecution suggested he was a wily killer using the passage of time to silence the witnesses against him.”
Cleared by the jury, Hooks was released pending trial in New Jersey for allegedly robbing a high school student at gunpoint. He was later arrested in New York state and charged with passing a forged prescription at a drugstore, according to the Times, which reported that police said a loaded handgun was found in the van Hooks was traveling in.
Back in Pittsfield, Hooks was indicted in Superior Court in late June of this year on charges including drug distribution, conspiracy to violate drug laws and armed robbery, according to the Clerk’s Office.
A judge on July 13 ordered Hooks held without bail before his trial on those charges.
But the man who had told police Hooks assaulted and robbed him at gunpoint later recanted his initial story to an independent investigator hired by the defense, saying that Hooks had actually not been there and there was no firearm involved, according to court documents.
Judge John Agostini determined the change in tune from the complaining witness weakened the prosecution’s case, and ruled in favor of defense lawyer Joseph Zlatnik’s request for bail reconsideration. Agostini on Oct. 16 ordered Hooks released on $2,500 cash bail.
Hooks posted bail three days later, according to the Clerk’s Office.