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WPD Gang Unit Makes a Routine Traffic Stop and Discovers Large Capacity Hand Gun

Worcester, MA (May 27, 2017) – On Friday, May 26, 2017, members of the WPD Gang Unit were on patrol in the Vernon Hill area. At approximately 7:15 PM, the officers were traveling west in an unmarked police vehicle on Dorchester Street, approaching Vernon Street. At this time the officers observed a Ford in front of them make a left turn onto Vernon Street. This particular intersection is posted with a sign that is clearly marked with "right turn only."

After observing this infraction the officers signaled the Ford to stop. The vehicle pulled to the side of the road in the area of 10 Winthrop Street. Officers approached the driver and asked the female operator for her license. The female stated that she did not have one with her. Other officers positioned in the rear of the Ford observed two males in the back seat and a third male in the passenger seat. Officers observed the male sitting behind the driver seat moving about. It appeared to the officers that this male was attempting to hide something. Officers got closer to the vehicle and observed that the male was fidgeting with a back pack. Officers recognized the male as 18-year-old Jose Rodriguez of 16 Sterling Street, Worcester. Mr. Rodriguez is a known gang member within the city. Fearing that he may be attempting to hide a weapon Mr. Rodriguez was asked to exit the vehicle.

Officers picked up the backpack and it seemed to be heavier than normal. Officers felt the bottom of the backpack and could tell right away that a heavy solid object was inside. This object’s outline felt like it was a firearm (handgun). At this time Mr. Rodriguez fled the scene and was running towards Vernon Street. Some of the officers gave chase while others remained at the scene. The remaining occupants were removed from the vehicle.

Officers at the scene opened the backpack and discovered a loaded semi-automatic hand gum that was capable of holding 15 rounds of ammunition.

After a short foot chase Mr. Rodriguez was apprehended. After a brief physical struggle Mr. Rodriguez was subdued and placed in handcuffs.

Meanwhile officers were interviewing the remaining passengers. During the conversation one of the passenger’s began to act very unruly and started to yell at the officers. This person was asked several times to calm down. The unruly passenger, known to the officers as Jeremy Spencer, 18-years-old of 2 Cherie Avenue, Worcester, was eventually placed under arrest and charged with Disorderly Conduct and Disturbing the Peace. Mr. Spencer is known to the officers as a member of a local gang within the city.

Mr. Rodriguez was charged with Resisting Arrest, Improper Storage of a Large Capacity Firearm near a Minor, Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm, Carrying a Loaded Firearm without a License, Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition without an FID Card, Carrying a Firearm without a License, Possession of a Large capacity Feeding Device, Disorderly Behavior and Disturbing the Peace.

Both men were transported to police headquarters for processing and will be arraigned on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at the Worcester County District courthouse.

The female driver was issued a citation for operating a Motor vehicle without a license and will be summonsed to the District Courthouse on a date yet to be determined. The female driver was not arrested which is why her name is not being released.

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