Springfield man charged after allegedly brandishing gun outside fraternity house


Staff Writer
Monday, September 20, 2021

AMHERST — A Springfield man who set off a massive police response by allegedly brandishing a gun during an altercation with UMass Amherst fraternity members has been released on bail after appearing in court.

Carlos A. Vazquez, Jr., 21, of Union Street in Springfield, was arraigned Monday in Eastern Hampshire District Court and pleaded not guilty to charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of a large-capacity firearm and possession of ammunition without a permit.

Vazquez was released after posting $5,000 bail, according to the court clerk’s office. He is due back in court for a pretrial conference on Oct. 14.

Police received reports Saturday at 12:19 a.m. that a man had shown a gun during a fight outside 38 Nutting Ave., and gunshots may have been heard. Police later determined that the gun had not been fired, and the loud “pow” sound that witnesses described was likely fireworks that were set off during the fight.

According to a statement filed in court by Amherst police, Vazquez and several friends had been denied entry to a fraternity party, which led to the altercation. Witnesses told police that Vazquez pointed a gun “in the general direction” of two fraternity brothers and made a statement about “shoot(ing) up the place.”

Police said the entire shift of officers responded to the incident due to the initial possibility of major violence.

“Dispatch indicated that the reporting party was not relaying specific information, unknown injuries, and possibly people bleeding,” the police report reads.

In a separate statement to the news media, Amherst Police Detective Lt. William Menard said responding officers “observed a chaotic scene in which college-age individuals were seen fleeing the area.”

Witnesses provided police with a description of the suspect, and officers spotted Vazquez “a short distance away from the scene, attempting to flee the area” in a car, according to the police report filed in court. Police pulled over the car and searched all five people inside; Vazquez was allegedly found in possession of a loaded handgun with no serial number. The gun was secured without incident, police said.

Vazquez was held over the weekend at the Hampshire County House of Correction pending his arraignment. On Monday afternoon, Menard said the matter remains under investigation.