Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Fitchburg, Massachusetts

From the Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise of May 17, 2004:

Cops: Burglar shot during break-in

Police say a city man shot a knife-wielding teenage burglar Saturday night as his friend, City Councilor Matthew Straight, fought another burglar inside a Straight-owned Fitchburg apartment building.

Darren L. Bessette, of the first-floor apartment of 5 Weymouth St., fired his handgun at 17-year-old Jonathan Duval, of 108 Pond St., Leominster, after police say Duval came at Bessette with a knife.

Police say the gunshot wound to Duval's leg was not life-threatening.

Police Sgt. Glenn Fossa said Bessette was inside the three-story Weymouth Street building when he and Matthew Straight heard loud banging inside a woman's third-floor apartment.

The Straight family owns the apartment building.

"They hear a noise and they go to investigate," Fossa said.

Bessette carried a licensed 9 millimeter semi-automatic handgun as he climbed up an inside staircase with Matthew Straight.

When they arrived, they found the apartment door forcibly removed and saw two intruders in the apartment.

Matthew Straight fought one of the intruders, who police on Sunday said remains unidentified and fled the scene.

Duval, the other burglar, "brandished a sharp object" and threatened Bessette, according to police reports.

Bessette fired a shot but did not hit Duval. The police report states "Duval continued toward Bessette and was shot in the leg."

Police believe the gunshot was an act of self-defense.

Bessette "hasn't been charged with anything," Fossa said. "We don't believe at this time there's any reason to believe any kind of criminal act took place."

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