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Springfield Police Sergeant Nearly Hit by Car While Chasing Shooting Suspect

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – A Springfield police sergeant was nearly struck by a car Friday morning following a shooting in the city’s entertainment district.

Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney says that around 1:50 a.m., a disturbance broke out near the Glo Night Club at 278 Worthington Street in Springfield’s entertainment district.

Sgt. Julio Toledo was on patrol in the area, and as he was making his way towards the commotion, shots rang out and he saw a male suspect allegedly flee the scene with a gun in his hand.

Toledo continued to chase the suspect towards Bridge Street when Delaney says Toledo was nearly hit by a white Dodge Charger fleeing the area.

Toledo called for backup as he continued to chase the shooting suspect. He and Officer Matt Benoit were able to tackle the man, identified as 21-year-old Junito Batista of Springfield, to the ground and disarm him of a .9mm handgun.

Delaney adds that other officers spotted the Charger traveling at a high rate of speed on Carew Street and tried to pull it over, but the driver of the car refused to stop.

Police followed the car to Baystate Medical Center where it pulled into the area of the emergency room.

The driver, identified by police as 39-year-old Manuel Melendez of Springfield, was trying to help his passenger, who was grazed by a bullet in the shooting, into the hospital.

Melendez was then arrested after police allegedly found a large amount of marijuana packaged for sale inside the car, as well as some pills. They also reportedly found an open container of Hennessy whiskey in the middle console.

Batista is facing several charges including armed assault with intent to murder, resisting arrest, and carrying a firearm without a license.

Melendez is being charged with such offenses as failure to stop for police, larceny of a motor vehicle, operating with a suspended license, and possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

Delaney notes that the Charger also was reported stolen from Avis rent-a-car.

Both men are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Springfield District Court.

Junito Batista

Junito Batista

Manuel Melendez

Manuel Melendez

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