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May 25 2014

Stabbing Investigation Prompts City-Wide Lockdown

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A report of a domestic conflict leading to a stabbing sent an entire Massachusetts city into lockdown on Thursday. Of course, after the Boston Marathon manhunt, the state showed it has no qualms in instituting lockdowns, shelter in place orders, or doses of martial law.

According to the press release Greenfield Police Facebook page, the department received an emergency call before 11 a.m. The caller stated he had been injured during a domestic dispute and had been stabbed. When officers arrived on the scene, they discovered a 51-year-old man who had been stabbed in the upper chest/shoulder. The suspect, 20-year-old Jeremy Haselton, had fled the scene and was believed to be armed with a knife. The victim’s wounds were not life-threatening.

At 11:15am the police ordered the city’s schools into lockdown and told city residents to shelter in place during the investigation. The shelter-in-place order coincided with a thunderstorm that had caused some power outages and disruptions in phone service, which allegedly influenced the police the place the entire city on lockdown. According to their Facebook, the police were concerned that the small blackout and traffic build-up “created even more anxiety for our residents.”

Faced with an overabundance of 911 calls to report fallen power lines, trees, and traffic jams, the police stopped responding to emergency calls and triaged them to a lower level. Some calls went unanswered completely. However, the police did not announce that they were redirecting calls or the reasons for the lockdown until the order was lifted. Instead, they merely sent out a notice via that there was a “police incident occurring” and encouraged people to stay in their homes and off the streets.

Perhaps it was the city-wide lockdown, the lack of communication, and the unresponsive police department that created the most anxiety for Greenfield residents?

The lockdown lasted for approximately an hour and a half before the suspect was found…hiding in bushes on the same street as the original incident. Similar to the Boston manhunt, the suspect was found by a neighbor who spotted the suspect from their window and alerted the police.

In summation, the police called a lockdown for a single stabbing incident, released K-9 units, had help from several other departments, searched the city for an hour and a half, and still couldn’t find someone sitting in the bushes several yards away.

The suspect has been charged with domestic assault and battery and assault and battery with a deadly weapon. The community, meanwhile, is praising police response.

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