Defendant Held After Allegedly Pointing Gun at Police Officer

A man with a prior firearm conviction was arraigned today for allegedly pointing a loaded handgun at a Boston Police officer during a foot chase in Charlestown.

Celestino Vicente, 37, of Dorchester, was arraigned Tuesday in Charlestown Municipal Court on charges of two counts each of assault and battery on a police officer and assault and battery with a firearm, and single counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, unlawful possession of a firearm as a subsequent offense, unlawful possession of ammunition as a subsequent offense, carrying a loaded firearm, improper storage of a firearm. He was also issued citations for an inspection sticker violation and failure to wear a seatbelt. According to prosecutors, Vicente was previously convicted of firearm and ammunition charges in Suffolk Superior Court in 1999. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Paul Lewis, Judge Michael Coyne ordered Vicente held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing under state law. The statute allows a judge to hold a defendant accused of certain offenses without bail for up to 120 days pending trial upon “clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community.”  That hearing will be held Friday.

Lewis told the court that on Monday evening, Boston Police officers were on patrol in the area of Polk Street in light of recent armed robberies and other firearm-related incidents in the area of the Bunker Hill Housing Development. Officers observed a man later identified as Vicente as he sat reclined and without a seatbelt in an idling red Acura with no inspection sticker and approached to speak with him and issue a citation. Though his demeanor was calm during the initial interaction, Vicente became extremely nervous when officers – aware of his prior gun conviction – began to discuss recent armed robberies in the area, prosecutors said.  Officers observed his chest begin to rise quickly, he was seen sitting up and then back down several times, and he twice reached to touch his waist and adjust his pants – an action officers recognized as a characteristic of an armed individual checking on a weapon.

Based on Vicente’s behavior, officers opened the vehicle’s driver side door and ordered Vicente to exit.  Vicente repeatedly refused to do so, prosecutors said. At that time, the registered owner of the vehicle approached and told Vicente to exit. Rather than exit, however, Vicente allegedly tried to close the car’s door and place the vehicle in drive. Officers attempted to remove Vicente from the vehicle, and a violent struggle ensued during which Vicente made movements to reach for the waist of his pants.

Vicente was able to escape from officers and fled over a fence into a courtyard; as he did so, he reached into his waist area and retrieved what appeared to be a firearm. A pursuing officer drew his weapon and ordered Vicente to drop the gun, to which Vicente allegedly responded, “Shoot me.” The officer instead took cover behind a brick wall and observed Vicente toss his firearm into a playground as he ran.

Additional responding officers took Vicente into custody without further incident on Walford Way.

Police recovered a loaded firearm inside a holster from an area of the playground that was along Vicente’s path of flight. Though snow that had begun to fall was remaining on surrounding surfaces, it was melting on contact with the discarded firearm, suggesting that the gun was warmer in temperature from having recently been handled. Thermal images were also taken of the weapon – a Ruger 9mm revolver that had previously been reported stolen from Holbrook.

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