Police search for armed suspect impacts local schools

Police search for armed suspect impacts local schools
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 7:08 PM EDT
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RUSSELL, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -In Hampden County, police are still searching for an armed and dangerous suspect that search closed down the mass pike for hours this morning.

The massive search Friday impacted towns like Russell, Blandford and Westfield. Police are still asking people to remain cautious.

Many western Mass. residents sat for hours on the Mass Pike westbound Friday morning, as State Police shut it down, searching for an armed and dangerous suspect.

Police are still looking for 22-year-old Darnell Barnes, a five-foot five male with a slender build.

They believe he was involved in an early morning shooting in West Hartford, Connecticut. His car was found on the Mass Pike, but police did not find him, or the firearm they believe was used in the shooting.

Police believe he may be in the wooded areas of towns like Russell and Blandford

“It’s a very large, wooded area up here in the hill towns, Russell, Montgomery area but we have a lot of personnel out participating in this event, not just on foot but on other modes of transportation as well,” said Lt. Sean Shattuck, Russell-Montgomery Police.

Police still not finding him, has some residents feeling on edge.

“You never know. Especially the way today is you don’t know. Right now he’s probably desperate and probably is looking to steal a vehicle or something,” said Lt. Shattuck.

On Friday, many area schools held all their activities indoors, out of an abundance of caution. Western Mass News received this voicemail from the Gateway Regional School Systems:

“We are heightening our security protocols, because of this local issue, to be as careful as possible.”

Westfield School System releasing a similar announcement to their community, saying schools will be in a modified shelter in place for a remainder of the school day.

Police are still asking nearby residents to be extra cautious, and to lock their doors, as Barnes has still not been taken into custody.

Police ask that if you see anything suspicious, to call 911.