Community of Palmer still in shock day after assault, chase - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Community of Palmer still in shock day after assault, chase

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PALMER, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

Fear can be felt even a day later in a Palmer neighborhood, where a man living there was arrested for assaulting someone with a knife.

That man is being held in a lockup after a six hour chase with police.

Even as he sits in a cell ready to face a judge, parents and even kids can't help but feel scared that this happened so close to home.

For high school freshman Colton Hudon, it was a Friday full of fear, rather than excitement.

Like the other students at Pathfinder Regional, he was ready for the school's lockdown drill.

Only it wasn't a drill this time.

It was a man who, according to neighbors, lives next door to him, that was leading local and even state police on a chase armed with a knife.

"When they started having updates about it," says Colton. "I kind of got scared."

Palmer received several 911 calls from 4009 Pine Street, a four-family apartment complex in the Thorndike section of Palmer, for a man assaulting a resident with a knife.

Neighbors looked on in terror from their windows as they say the man chased this resident in and around the building.

That's when a neighbor took out a shotgun and fired it at the man's feet, trying to get him to stop.

Officers then rushed the property, only to have the man take off into the woods.

After six hours of chasing and several school lockdowns, police cornered and arrested the man in the Thorndike Post Office parking lot.

31 year-old John Leo Girouard will face nine charges, including two counts of armed home invasion with a dangerous weapon, armed assault, and breaking and entering, among others.

Colton described what the lockdown was like from his automotive class.

"Upstairs in our shop in the back rooms," Colton went on to say. "We al huddled up back there."

Thankfully, nobody was hurt, but sadly, this is not the first scare.

It's the first of many scares for a kid just trying to enjoy riding his bike and hanging with friends.

"I used to go to Congress Middle School in downtown," Colton told us. "And they had a lot of bomb threats happen there, and I have anxiety, and it was really bad."

Colton's anxiety was through the roof on Friday, especially knowing how close this was to home.

He says anyone who suffers from anxiety knows exactly he was feeling.

[READ MORE: Suspect in custody after police search that prompted Palmer lockdown]

"It makes me want to cry," he described. "Just start crying and not want to talk to anybody."

But thankfully he has his parents to support him, to talk to him, and he hopes other kids out there are never afraid to talk, no matter what is keeping you up.

"You just focus on your work and stuff," said Colton. "Work is more important than all this school shooting threats and stuff."

Girouard is being held on $50,000 cash bail overnight.

We reached out to Palmer police, but still no word on when he will appear in court.

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

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