Man arrested during Northampton lockdown appears in court - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Man arrested during Northampton lockdown appears in court

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)
State Police were seen at JFK Middle School in Northampton on Thurs. Jun 7, 2018 (Western Mass News photo) State Police were seen at JFK Middle School in Northampton on Thurs. Jun 7, 2018 (Western Mass News photo)

A man arrested during a lockdown at a Northampton school has appeared before a judge.

Matthew Borsuk, 27, of Florence was arraigned Friday on charges including two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon on school property and one count of disturbing a school assembly.

Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper said that shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to JFK Middle School for a report of a man with a gun.  

A school staff member was outside with some students when they reportedly saw a suspicious man near a vehicle.

The initial report indicated that the man - identified by police as Borsuk - had removed a long barreled rifle from the trunk.

"The staff member immediately brought the students inside, a lockdown was initiated, and Northampton Public Safety was contacted," Kasper explained.

Officers arrived and found the vehicle in a parking spot on the west side of the building with Borsuk allegedly sitting on the ground by the bumper.

"Borsuk had what appeared to be a rifle on his lap and it appeared that he was loading it," Kasper added.

Investigators held Borsuk at gunpoint, ordered to show his hands - an order with which he complied - and officers then saw a rifle scope on the ground.  He was detained and then arrested.

"In a subsequent interview, Borsuk stated that he was at the school to pick up an adult friend and they were planning to go target shooting at a later time.  Since he had some time while he was waiting, he decided to sit outside of the school, remove the weapon from his trunk, and put it together.  He indicated that he had no intention of entering the school or using the weapon at that time," Kasper said.

Borsuk never entered the school, according to police.

After investigators determined that there was no threat, the lockdown was concluded.  

The incident caused students to be dismissed late, with buses being an hour or more late.

Officers confiscated from Borsuk and his vehicle:

  • .177 caliber AccuWhisper pellet gun
  • .177 caliber Brown Swiss Arms TG-1 pellet gun
  • 500 Crosman .177 caliber pellets
  • Scope for the black pellet rifle
  • Gun cases
  • 11.37 grams of marijuana
  • Marijuana smoking pipe and grinder
  • Other miscellaneous items

On Friday, many students went back to class with a message and chose to wear a certain color to show support for one another after what they described was a frightening afternoon.

"We hid under the table the lights were off," said eighth grader Beckett Caulkins

Caulkins was in English class and said it was a frightening afternoon.

"I didn't know with everything that's been going on.  You had to think it's going to be the worst and hope for the best," Caulkins added.

Today, school was back in session with many students choosing to wear black, a movement that Hailee Pashkin and another student started with help from the Pioneer Valley Students Against Gun Control.

"It shows everyone is with us saying we aren't done fighting for our safety," Pashkin said.

A not guilty plea was entered for Borsuk in court Friday.  Bail was set at $500 cash with conditions that he stay away from all Northampton public schools, not possess any firearms including pellet guns, and stay drug and alcohol free.

No injuries were reported during the incident.

Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and we will have the latest as it becomes available.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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