Suspect in Pittsfield Road Rage Shooting Released

One of the suspects involved in a shooting that took place on Elm St. last week has been released after a dangerousness hearing Wednesday. According to The Berkshire Eagle, Central Berkshire District Court Judge Jennifer Tyne ruled to release William P. Hennessey on conditions that he have no contact with the victim in the alleged shooting, and not possess firearms.

The case is scheduled to continue on July 28, over two months from now. Hennessey, of West Springfield, is accused of firing a gun last Thursday night after a road rage incident with another vehicle near Palmer's Variety. The charges against Hennessey brought forth by Assistant District Attorney Veronica Van Tol include discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Once investigators located the firearm Friday morning, additional charges of unlicensed carrying of a firearm, attempted assault and battery with a firearm and possession of a firearm that was defaced in the commission of a felony, were brought again the defendant.

(The victim) reported that the minivan then rams him, causing his windshield to break, at which point the defendant (Hennessey) got out of the passenger seat of the vehicle, brandished a firearm, and shot twice toward his pickup truck. Assistant D.A. Van Tol via The Berkshire Eagle

Attorney Joseph Zlatnik, appointed to represent Hennessey, brought up questions about the account of events that night, as well as conflicting statements on the identity of the shooter.

Zlatnik claims that one police report states that charges were suggested against the victim for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for ramming the truck into the van, yet witness statements remain unclear as to who initiated the vehicle collision. Statements from the victim also allege there were multiple people exiting the minivan, and he was not able to identify Hennessey as the shooter. Zlatnik argued there were significant variances in witness statements describing the height of the alleged suspect, with some saying a man between 5-foot-8 and 5-foot-10 fired the gun, yet his client is listed as 5-foot-3.

This is obviously a tangled and confused scene, no question about it.

But I believe that we are talking about, at a bare minimum two different people. What was said by (the victim) was that there were three to four individuals outside this van. It's a chaotic scene, but I want the court to consider, when the police showed up, my client is standing right there. He hadn't run off to hide a gun.

He interacted with police....There's a high risk that there is another individual out there right now, who is responsible for this shooting

Defense Attorney Joseph Zlatnik via The Berkshire Eagle

After all arguments were presented to Judge Tyne, she stated that "while she does find Hennessey to be a dangerous individual, there were conditions of release that would ensure the safety of the community."

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