BY HOA NGUYEN '18
Three men were arrested in connection to the shooting of a South Hadley native on Nov. 26.
The 29-year-old victim was taken to Holyoke Medical Center then transferred to Baystate Medical Center to get treatment for his abdominal wounds, reported The Daily Hampshire Gazette. He waslater reported to be in stable condition.
Chester resident Joseph Massa, 18, and Dupree Hinds, 30, of Chicopee, both pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including home invasion, assault and attempt to rob with a firearm, and assault and battery with a firearm. Robert Vanhoy from South Hadley, 19, faced similar charges in his arraignment at Eastern Hampshire District Court, according to a press release.
Police suspect the shooting was a deliberate act of violence against the victim rather than an unplanned incident.
South Hadley detective Trudy Romanovicz took charge of the investigation. The victim told Romanovicz he got shot directly in the abdomen after the three men came to his house and pulled out a handgun, telling him to give them everything he had, as reported by The Gazette.
After moving into his Amherst apartment in October, the unemployed man had been selling marijuana for a living, court documents say. The day of the event, he was supposed to wait for Massa, an ongoing customer, to come and purchase more drugs. Romanovicz said the man also told police that he never had any problems with Massa in the six months he knew him.
Two weeks after the event, Chief Steve Parentela of the South Hadley Police Department said that the incident remained under investigation and that the court has yet to make final decisions on the case. “The three suspects have only been arraigned on the charges in district court last week.”
Based on police records, it is extremely rare for such an event to happen in South Hadley. The last time an individual was assaulted and shot in South Hadley was over four years ago. Parentela believes the low rate of shootings is the result of a collaborative effort between the police and the residents in the area.
“We are fortunate to live in a community with such great support for its police [and] the community support helps us all keep everyone safe,” he said.