One Less Gun: Commissioner Evans Praises Officers for Extraordinary Levels of Courage, Composure and Restraint Displayed During Encounter with Armed Gunman in Charlestown

At about 8:00 PM on Monday, January 29, 2018, officers assigned to District A-15 (Charlestown) made an onsite firearm arrest stemming from a motor vehicle stop in Charlestown. Officers were travelling on Polk Street when they observed a red motor vehicle double-parked in front of 18 Polk Street without an inspection sticker. While talking to the operator, officers noted that the he began moving in such a way as if to suggest he was in possession of a weapon or firearm by constantly reaching for touching an object in his waist area. Fearing the suspect may be in possession of a firearm, officers asked the operator to exit the vehicle. Despite several requests, the suspect refused to move. But when officers attempted to remove the operator, the suspect began to hit, punch, and strike the officers while simultaneously reaching for the object in his waistband. Not wanting the suspect to gain control of the weapon, officers quickly pulled the suspect from the car. Once outside the car, officers struggled to gain control of the suspect’s hands as he continued to fight, strike and punch the officers all the while trying to reach for and gain possession of the weapon in his waistband. During the struggle, both of the officers’ handheld radios were knocked to the ground, rendering them unable to call for aid and additional backup. As the fight wore on, additional officers who were in the area on an unrelated matter observed the struggle from afar and instantly started towards the scene to provide much-needed aid and assistance. The arresting officers continued to struggle with the suspect who was eventually able to break free and flee on foot through a courtyard opposite 10 Carney Court. One of the officers immediately gave chase while the second officer, finally able to gain access to a radio, called for help while providing relevant information to the responding units. As the pursuing officer began to close in on the suspect, the suspect suddenly turned around, pulled out a revolver, and pointed it directly at the officer. Instinctively, the officer drew his firearm, took cover, and began issuing verbal commands ordering the suspect to drop his gun. At this point, the suspect lowered his firearm and ran towards a nearby playground where he discarded the weapon. In short time, additional responding units were able to overcome and subdue the suspect. Officers then safely recovered the firearm discarded by the suspect, a fully loaded 9mm Ruger LCR revolver inside a black holster (see photo). The suspect, Celestino Vicente, 37, of Dorchester, was charged with the Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, Carrying a Loaded Firearm on a Public Way, Assault by Means of Dangerous Weapon, Assault and Battery While Armed (2 Counts), Assault and Battery on a Police Officer (2 Counts) and Resisting Arrest.

Said Commissioner William Evans, “I can’t say enough about the split-second decision making, bravery and restraint displayed by the officers involved in this incident. The fact that the suspect in this case thought it was okay to point a firearm at one of my officers is beyond disturbing and, truth be told, this individual is incredibly lucky he didn't get shot. Clearly, an incident like this speaks to the dangers my officers bravely and knowingly confront each and every day while protecting and serving our community. Thankfully, this incident ended the way that it did and my officers were able to go home to their loved ones safe and sound at the end of an emotionally difficult and draining day.”