FITCHBURG — On Tuesday, July 12, the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations Team and State Police Crisis Negotiation Unit responded to Fitchburg to help local police apprehend an armed suspect who had barricaded himself under the Townsend Street bridge.
The man – who was later identified as 29-year-old Fitchburg resident Justin Sousa – was reported to Fitchburg police at around 5:37 p.m.
According to police, earlier in the day, Sousa inflicted life-threatening injuries on a 59-year-old woman during a domestic assault incident involving a dangerous weapon.
State Police say that Sousa told Fitchburg police that he was armed with more than one weapon when he barricaded himself under the Townsend Street bridge.
“The suspect had previously stated to Fitchburg Police that he was armed with two firearms, and responding Fitchburg officers observed him in possession of at least one handgun after he had tucked himself against the side and under the road deck of the bridge. The suspect had allegedly stated that he would shoot anyone who came close to him,” wrote State Police in a Facebook post which detailed the incident.
After police established their tactical positions around Sousa, a trooper from the State Police’s Crisis Negotiation Unit began speaking to him through a “loud hailer speaker.”
“The negotiator and suspect subsequently communicated by cell phone, as the Trooper worked for about three hours in an attempt to convince the man to surrender peacefully. Eventually, as the negotiator made progress, he moved closer to the suspect and communicated with him through natural speaking from a protected position,” wrote State Police.
At around 9 p.m., after several hours of negotiation, police say Sousa surrendered peacefully.
Sousa was arrested and transferred to the custody of the Fitchburg police. Sousa is currently being held on a charge of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon Causing Serious Bodily Injury.