Alleged armed assault in Westfield

WESTFIELD, Mass. (The Westfield News) – A Rachael Terrace resident who allegedly pointed a handgun at another man’s face now faces a variety of firearms charges. City police responded to a call from a Phelps Avenue resident in the early hours of Friday morning who reported that a person came from a neighbor’s apartment and menaced her boyfriend with a handgun.

The caller said that the suspect had fled in a described vehicle which was spotted leaving the area by Officer Efrain Luna as he arrived. Luna reversed course and caught up with the car near the intersection of Court and High streets but waited to stop the car, on Broadway, until officers Francis Gaulin, Kevin Bard and Jared Rowe converged.

Luna said later that Gaulin ordered the suspect, James J. McConkey, 22, of 51 Rachael Terrace to exit the car and demanded to know the location of the gun. While Bard took control of the suspect and Luna took the overwatch position, Gaulin and Rowe checked the interior of the vehicle finding no additional occupants. A 9 mm Smith and Wesson automatic pistol was found where McConkey said it was, under the driver’s seat. Luna reports that one round was chambered and four more were in the 12-shot magazine.

At Phelps Avenue, Officer David Burl spoke with the victim, a man well-known to many city officers from many previous incidents, who said that McConkey had been banging on the door and yelling for him to come outside. When he went out, the victim said, the suspect stuck a pistol in his face and they exchanged words before the suspect fled.

McConkey was found to have no license to carry a firearm and was arrested on firearms charges, as well as the underlying charge of assault with a dangerous weapon. Arraigned before Judge Philip A. Contant in Westfield District Court on Friday, he was held without right to bail pending a pre-trial detention hearing yesterday. At the hearing, Luna said McConkey acknowledged the incident had occurred and said that he was upset with the victim because he has often called police to complain about his friends who live in the apartment above the apartment where the victim frequently stays with his girlfriend. At the hearing, Luna said, the victim testified that he had yelled a demand for quiet to his neighbors shortly before the incident.

Luna testified that McConkey said that he had originally bought the gun while he was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas and subsequently sold it to a friend there. Then his friend was deployed and, when he had no safe place to store the gun, McConkey agreed to keep it for him. McConkey, arraigned on Friday for charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a firearm without a FID card, possession of a large capacity firearm and improper storage of a firearm, was released on his personal recognizance after the hearing yesterday. He was ordered to make no threats or violence toward the named victim and is due to return to court on Aug. 5.

Media Credit: The Westfield News

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