The man who was arrested Friday for an armed robbery and for throwing his 10-year-old child from a vehicle he was driving while being pursued by police has been identified.
28-year-old Gilberto Dannil Diaz Jr. of Drexel Street in Springfield is facing numerous charges related to the incident. Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney confirmed the man's identity with Western Mass News Saturday morning. He added that the girl was 10-years-old, not 8 as was previously reported by police.
Police told us originally that Diaz was wanted for numerous armed robberies at Walgreens and CVS pharmacies where large quantities of prescription pills were taken.
The man initially ran from police on Putnam Circle in Chicopee Friday afternoon shortly before 4:30 p.m. From there he made his way into Chicopee and then back into Springfield.
The driver, who had his 10-year-old daughter in the vehicle at the time of the chase, sped down Liberty Street in Springfield and entered I-291. He exited I-91 in downtown Springfield in an attempt to elude police.
"During the course of this pursuit Diaz drove recklessly throughout the city , striking officers vehicles on several occasions and causing three accidents with minor property damage. The subject also discarded narcotics from the vehicle which were recovered by officers," explained Delaney.
When Diaz approached Red Rose Pizzeria on Main Street he slowed the Chevy Cruz he was driving to a roll and shoved the young girl out of the vehicle police said, causing her to fall to the ground. He "nearly (struck) his daughter with the vehicle as he attempted to make his getaway again," added Delaney.
The young girl who was shaken up was not injured in the incident. She was transported to the youth aid bureau and the Department of Youth and Family Services is now assisting with this case.
Police arrested Diaz behind Stockbridge Court, at 45 Willow St., "Detective Kalish forced the vehicle onto a wooded area at the end of Cross St. to prevent any further endangerment to the public. At which point Diaz was apprehended after a foot chase," said Delaney.
Diaz has been charged with the following: Armed Robbery while Masked Warrant (Diaz held up the Walgreens in Springfield prior to his arrest), Failure to Stop for a P.O., Reckless Operation, 4 counts of A&B by means of a car, Assault by means of Motor Vehicle on a 10-year-old Child, Reckless Behavior of a Child, Risk of Injury to a Child, Resisting Arrest, Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident, Trafficking in Heroin 36-100 Grams, and 3 counts Possession of Class B with Intent to Distribute.
Last Sunday, Springfield police responded to an armed robbery at the Walgreens Pharmacy located at 50 St. James Blvd. There was an arrest warrant issued for Diaz following that armed robbery.
Sgt. John Delaney told Western Mass News at the time that a man armed with a silver handgun jumped over the pharmacy counter and demanded employees to open the safe and lay on the floor. The suspect took Oxycodone, Oxycotin and Percocet pills from the store and fled on foot.
This was not the only recent pharmacy robbery though. On April 22, a man robbed an Agawam Walgreens at gunpoint and got away with 40 bottles of Oxycontin.
About one month later, a man walked into an East Longmeadow Walgreens armed with a handgun looking for pills. Police say the suspect got away with a large quantity of pharmaceutical drugs.
No word if Diaz has any connection to those last two incidents.
Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and as new details develop we'll provide an update.
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