Jeanette DeForge The Republican, Springfield, Mass.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – A police officer remains in the hospital after being shot twice and a 25-year-old man has been arrested in what was described as a gun battle outside a nightclub early Saturday morning.

The officer, Edwin Irizarry, who has served at least 20 years on the department, was grazed in the left arm and shot in the left elbow during the incident that occurred shortly before 2 a.m. at the corner of State and Benton Street, Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said.

Kenneth Hernandez, of Dickinson Street, Springfield, was charged with two counts of assault within intent to murder with a firearm, carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, assault with a dangerous weapon and three counts of malicious damage. He could face other charges in the future, said Ryan Walsh, police spokesman.

“It was quite the gunfight the officers were involved in,” Clapprood said.

A second person was also injured in the shooting. The victim was driven taken to Baystate Medical Center by a friend and treated for two graze wounds and released, she said.

He is cooperating with police, she said.

Irizarry and a second officer, who are both long-term officers, were working a private detail at the Aquarious nightclub when they were told by the manager that there was a disturbance outside. Both went outside and found a man, who had been hit with a bottle, bleeding by the head across the street at the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot on State Street, Clapprood said.

While they were investigating, one of the officers heard a woman yelling in Spanish to Hernandez, “What are you getting? What are you getting?” she said.

The two officers then saw the man walk to a vehicle and then turn around with his hands behind his back. They then repeatedly ordered him to show his hands, Clapprood said.

“At which time he produces a .22 caliber firearm and fires at the officers,” she said

The second officer took cover in a vehicle. At the same time there was also gunfire coming from behind the police, Clapprood said.

In total investigators recovered three different types of ammunition. One came from one of the officers who returned fire and one came from Hernandez’s gun, which was recovered at the scene when he was arrested.

Police are continuing to search for a third suspect and have a description of a car that left the scene that may have been part of the shooting, she said.

“It is a very fluid and active investigation,” she said.


©2019 The Republican, Springfield, Mass.

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