For Immediate Release: 4/7/2013 8:44 pm
Worcester, MA (April 7, 2013) - On Sunday April 7, 2013 at approximately 2:15 PM, Worcester Police responded to the YMCA located at 766 Main Street for a report of shots fired. As officers were responding they received additional information that an off duty Massachusetts State Police trooper was following a suspect in the shooting incident. The trooper was in his personal vehicle and was informing police dispatchers his direction of travel. The trooper informed police that the passenger in the suspect’s vehicle had thrown an object out of the vehicle and into a wooded lot on Lafayette Street. The trooper believed that the object was a gun. The trooper stayed by the wooded field as the suspect vehicle continued to drive on.
Police arrived at the lot and met with the trooper. The trooper informed the officers that he was off duty and walking towards the entrance to the YMCA when he heard a sound that was similar to a gunshot. The trooper then observed a male in front of him, standing at the top of the front stairs to the YMCA, holding a gun. The suspect with the gun fired approximately three shots in the direction that the first gun shot came from. After the final shot, the trooper observed this male place the gun in his waistband and walks towards a Nissan Altima, enter the driver’s seat and drive off. The trooper entered his personal vehicle and followed the Nissan. The Nissan stopped on Hermon Street and picked up several males who had ran from the direction of the YMCA. The Nissan then drove off with the trooper following it.
The trooper was able to provide a detailed description of the suspect who had fired the gun. The suspect vehicle was located in a nearby parking lot. Shortly after discovering the Nissan two males were observed walking on Bigelow Street by Ellsworth Street. The males were stopped by several police officers in the area. The trooper was transported to the location and identified the males.
A search of the lot produced a semi automatic handgun. The gun was recovered as evidence. The males were placed under arrest. The suspect firing the shots was identified as Jesus Benitez, 22-years-old of 17 Upland Gardens, Worcester. Mr. Benitez was charged with Discharging a Firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling and carrying a Loaded Firearm without a License. The second suspect was identified as Luis Rosario, 19-years-old of 318 Hamilton Street, Southbridge. Mr. Rosario was charged with carrying a Loaded Firearm without a License.
Both men were transported to police headquarters for processing. They will be arraigned on Monday at the Worcester County District Courthouse.
Police at the scene interviewed numerous witnesses. Police learned that a church group was present during the shooting incident. This group had set up an area on the lawn of the YMCA that was in the process of feeding the homeless.
Police discovered two motor vehicles that had their windows shattered by bullets. There were no persons hit during this incident.
Worcester detectives arrived at the scene and collected evidence. It is unknown at this time what the motive was or the circumstances were that lead up to the shots being fired. Police are currently working on the identity of a group of males seen fleeing the area in a SUV just after the shots were fired.
If anyone has information about this incident they can send an anonymous text to 274637 TIPWPD + your message or send an anonymous web based message at worcesterma.gov/police. Calls can also be made to the Worcester Police Detective Bureau at (508) 799-8651.