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MORE INFO TRICKLES OUT ON THE COLUMBUS AVENUE MURDER

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, THE WEEKEND EDITION AUG. 30-SEPT. 1, 2019) — The murder of Stephanie Olivieri, coupled with the “Tyjaye and Zyir Shoot-O-Rama” (T & Z, two of the finest courtesy of JIV and your Pittsfield Public Schools), piled onto the savage beating and stabbing of two people outside Cumby’s on First Street has ignited a level of exasperation and frustration not seen in Pittsfield in many a moon, and we don’t mean any candidates in Ward 1.

The mayhem would be bad enough stag, but accompanying it to the danse macabre is the F-Troop action of Berkshire County district attorney Andrea Harrington, police chief Mike Wynn, and mayor Linda Tyer. Where are Capt. Parmenter, Corp. Agarn, and O’Rourke Enterprises when you need them? We’ll leave Chief Wild Eagle and the Hahkowees out of it for the moment.

It’s as if this endless wave of a violent summer froze the unqualified trio in the headlights. Picture that deer on the side of the Taconic State Parkway while you’re motoring at 90 mph from Yonkers at, say, 3:22 a.m. Their statements after the incidents, particularly the curbside murder on Columbus Avenue, did nothing to calm the public or give them the vital information they need with killers on the loose. Their assurances that the public had and has nothing to fear only stoked the insecurity rampant in Pittsfield.

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Once upon a time, the trio and the underlings they control would have been successful in capping this gusher, but no more. There’s a new invention called social media and texting that enables informed an uninformed sources to have their say — as both have … and will. Thus, in the absence of official professionalism and a caring public safety system, those in the know and out of it will add to the information and the confusion.

Evidently, though they will profess otherwise, this isn’t much concern to Harrington, Tyer, and Wynn. The triumvirate did their best to limit if not discourage community feedback. What else can you call the lack of availability to free questioning from the press? Where was the press conference? The timely sharing of information? Where was their obligation to Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski, the poor, taxpaying saps who are funding these follies? Hiding behind statements composed by committee and issued by spokesperson-flacks doesn’t qualify as responsible behavior toward the decent, taxpaying folks who only want to be able to live in peace without daily worry for their safety.

In the pull of this incoming tide, THE PLANET has served the vital public function of community “bulletin board,” in the process offering a steam valve to relieve some of the pressure on a cooker that might yet blow its top before long. Moreover, we have provided the community with key shards of the story, enough to add to and in some instances counter the “verse-and-chapter” official information.

For example, our sources have shared with THE PLANET and the public the many inconsistencies in official statements, the most glaring is the claim that the public was never in harm’s way and is not now.

Compare that with contradicting claim that Olivieri, sitting in a car in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of the city at 3 a.m., was an “innocent victim.” How do those two statements square? If she was an innocent victim, it means the public was and still is in danger, with the killer or killers on the loose. If she was the intended victim, how could she be deemed “innocent” or even a victim at all?

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Piecing together information running like an Amazonian wild fire into THE PLANET‘s inbox and communications center, it appears that:

  • ShotSpotter failed, sending police to the wrong location.
  • Officials learned of the shooting not from ShotSpotter but from 911.
  • A transcript of the 911 call exists, but authorities have thus far refused to release it.
  • Olivieri died of a gunshot wound to the head.
  • She was presumed dead at the scene and determined by medical staff at BMC to be DOA — dead on arrival.
  • 11 shell casings were found at the scene. There are conflicting reports, one saying they came from one weapon, another saying from at least two different weapons. The latter, if true, would indicate multiple shooters.
  • Multiple shooters would be consistent with witness who say they heard overlapping, un-sycopated gunfire.
  • The district attorney’s office and Wynn both told Tyer of the murder before Tuesday’s mayoral debate. That has been one of the burning and most controversial questions throughout this entire debacle.
  • The murder is thought to be connected to an “embedded” criminal ring (primarily drugs and sex trafficking) operating “at will” in the city.
  • Officials are exploring leads suggesting that the T & J shootings and the Cumby hit are connected to the actions on Columbus Avenue.
  • The local ring appears to be a tentacle of a criminal enterprise tracing back to Springfield, with other arms in Hartford, Albany and other locations in New York State, particularly along the Taconic.
  • The local ring has mules in the Pittsfield Public School system, particularly the middle schools where kids are still dumb enough to think this type of action is cool.
  • The shooting is part of a turf war between rival gangs who both (if two; there may be more than two) claim “ownership” of the lucrative West Side and Tyler Street. North Street, particularly Wahconah Street, and the northern end and northwest, also are valued as prime turf, not only for drugs but for flesh peddling.

THE PLANET presents this information unvetted. None of it has been officially confirmed. We believe in the veracity of our sources. That said, if any of this information is incorrect or false, we stand eager to publish corrections, especially from relevant offices. Our goal is to present the most accurate information, always striving to serve the public with the truth as best we can determine it.

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Getting back to We The People, it remains to be seen if any of Mary Jane and Joe Kapanski’s frustrations translate to the voting booth. They might, but before anyone counts on a storming of the Bastille by torch-bearing, shit-upon citizens, keep in mind the insular level of near-total apathy The Suits have built up in Benigno Numine.

THE PLANET‘s traffic has gone bumper-to-bumper all week in response to the mayhem. Of the hundreds of comments, we present three you might have missed. The first sums up the commonly held view on the streets that the Kapanskis aren’t buying what officials have had to say:

JOHNNY ABSURDSomewhere in Pittsfield, in an office of high regard, there sits some big wigs trying to come up with a plausible story for the public. They already know we are stupid based on the people we elected so that may explain the Pablum they drizzled out recently. And the thing is that this is not the only low info assault lately. If it were not tourist season maybe we would be brought more up to date. BOOOMMM!!!

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The next one captures well the public’s scorn for the claim that the public is in no danger:

GHOST RIDERA drive by murder 266 feet from the Police Community Outreach Center. Shots fired near an MSP trooper on patrol. Next it will be shootings near 39 Allen Street! Oh, I forgot the ones at Lach’s Lounge and the Park Square shooting a decade ago. Sorry, my bad! But it’s good to hear that the public is in no danger!!!

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Finally, this testimony from one of the West Side’s majority, that is, the 99% of the people who live there and are being held hostage by the riff raff and by official ineptness:

JIMThe apparent homicide on Columbus Avenue in Pittsfield early Sunday morning is a tragedy for the family of the victim and a nightmare for the residents of the neighborhood. In the absence of information, the fears of residents will be amplified, and unfortunately that information did not emerge as quickly as it should have.

The office of District Attorney Andrea Harrington was slow to release the name of the victim to “provide the family privacy,” according to a spokesman. Certainly, time is needed to notify next of kin but there is no specific family right to privacy, certainly not an open-ended one. The DA has established a precedent that other families may expect it to follow in the future. On Wednesday, the DA’s office revealed that the victim was Stephanie Olivieri, 32, of Yonkers, N.Y., and formerly of Becket.

The DA’s office also described the shooting as an isolated incident, which angered many neighborhood residents who took to social media to express that anger.

This was the fifth shooting in that area in a month’s time and the second involving injuries. Another shooting on Columbus Avenue left a teenager injured last November.

The statement by the DA’s office Wednesday that the victim is not believed to be the intended victim painfully recalls the shooting death in that vicinity of Asiyanna Jones in 2017. These incidents might be unrelated but they are part of a pattern of gun violence in a neighborhood where residents fear for their safety and the safety of friends and family members.

Mayor Linda Tyer’s statement that residents need not fear for their safety in the wake of this “tragic event” didn’t address the concerns of residents who needed specific acknowledgment of the gun violence plaguing their streets and assurance that City Hall was aware of the big picture beyond one “event.” Violence on the eve of an election poses problems for an incumbent, as was seen four years ago when Ms. Tyer challenged a mayor who faced the same issue in largely the same neighborhood.

Vague reassurances won’t calm residents waiting on edge for the sound of gunshots.

That anger was in evidence at a meeting of community members on Tuesday (“DA investigating Columbus Avenue shooting as a homicide,” Eagle, Wednesday).

Volunteers with the West Side Community Outreach Post, which was formed earlier this year as a partnership between the city and the neighborhood, discussed formation of a larger group that would reach out to residents to find solutions to crime. This movement indicates a lack of confidence in the city and in the Police Department, which was not represented at Tuesday’s meeting. The concerns of volunteers that the police department has not embraced their efforts and is waiting for the outreach post to fail are troubling and suggest that police must do more to win their confidence.

The DA’s office, City Hall and the Police Department cannot expect a worried neighborhood to accept on faith that violent incidents are isolated, that there is no reason to fear, and that all is under control. There are no simple solutions or easy answers to deep-rooted crime problems that are complex in scope, and residents shouldn’t expect them. They should, however, expect timely information and frankness from the appropriate officials. Neither were forthcoming in the immediate aftermath of the latest outbreak of deadly gun violence in the West Side. (This statement by Jim was first published in The Berkshire Eagle)

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Finally, we visited the Melissa Mazzeo for Mayor official website (mazzeoformayor.org), looking for any reaction to these events. Nada. Nothing. Zilch. All we found was this statement on “Public Safety:”

Our police officers and other public safety officials deserve the full support of our City. Like many communities, Pittsfield is facing an opioid crisis and the resulting uptick in crime. Working together as a community, we have an opportunity to make significant headway in dealing with this epidemic. We also cannot ignore the gang activity, nor can we ignore the vulnerability of Pittsfield as a pass-through community for criminal activity. We must make decisions about our law enforcement resources based on fact and actual data points, informed by best practices, to make a real impact on our overall neighborhood safety.

As boilerplate, we’ve seen worse. We’re struck by the fact that the website has no reaction to or statement about the recent mayhem. Perhaps Mazzeo simply wants to get through primary day and then attack. If that’s the case, it’s the wrong approach. The current “public safety” situation in Pittsfield needs to be specifically addressed. It’s not playing politics to do so, and even if it is so what? She wants to be mayor with a difference? Now is the time the city needs someone like that, but that time came and went.

The Mazzeo Facebook page had even less. It featured Mazzeo running about 20 feet with Pittsfield’s Marathon Man, Sal Marinaro. With all due respect to Sal, that beautiful little man we all love, one would hope for something more. Facebook and websites are interactive and 24/7, the perfect forum for Mazzeo to weigh in on these important matters. Missy missed out by playing it safe. It’s no way to be elected mayor.

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We welcome your continued comments on this important issue — and other, if you so choose.

Have a great weekend, everybody.

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“Yes, I am proud. / I must be proud to see / Men afraid of God afraid of me”Alexander Pope, from The Dunciad.

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL.

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Merry & Bright
Guest
Merry & Bright

Don’t know who wrote the Editorial in the BB today, just saw a major blooper in the article that shows that the staff at the BB are floundering. They wrote about Cara Carnevale’s son Nick being shot on Columbus Avenue! How many articles have been in the BB since Nick was shot at October Mountain! Pretty sad that no one at the BB saw this before it was published. Guess they no longer employ proof readers.

David Bubriski
Guest
David Bubriski

They also would have people believe that it’s possible to have all necessary parts mailed to anyone to assemble a firearm. Totally not legal or possible. Certain firearm components have the same restrictions as a firearm. Try harder next time Berkshire Eagle.

Phil mcraken
Guest
Phil mcraken

So many historical bands that have mixed nationalites that i wont list them, i love to see black and white musicians together as a brotherhood…’why cant we all just get along ” ?

Yawn
Guest
Yawn

Dump The Mayor. She is dreaming if she says she has done anything. Traverse the city,you can’t even drive without some bullshit gong on. Agree with spa girl… time for a drastic change_ intervention. The D A even said she wants to make us a safe community,how? It’s worse since that election.

jim H
Guest
jim H

Clairmont donates money and offers jobs and who know what else in order to rubber stamp Lovely Linda Tyer’s (aka Liar Tyer) wishes for the council Perfect examples are: Moon has a job in the DA’s office as well as Diehl-Lampiasi, Donna Todd Rivers has a position at the job placement center, Andy McKeever, former iberkshire reporter, who was extremely bias in his coverage now also has a job in the DA’s office as a reporter. Peter White, Earl Persip, Cacamo, and Marchetti are Tyer’s puppets. One can only imagine how they are benefitting from their rubber stamping of Tyer’s wishes. Dirty politics is what has turned this city into the mess its in. People better get out and vote for a real honest city council and mayor. This is for you Barry….Why does your wife still use her ex husbands name? If i… Read more »

sickofit
Guest
sickofit

I agree jim H clairmont and tyer persuade some counselors to go to the dark side by offering perks .for example, moon .lampiasi. rivers good paying jobs. i believe counselors have good intentions when they first become counselors they are in it for the right reasons and then say whats in it for me. that’s why we have to vote then out.

Planet Valenti