On October 25, 2012, three members of the Massachusetts State Police were honored with awards by the Massachusetts Police Association at their annual convention held in Plymouth. Trooper John Vasquez, Trooper Keller Williams and Trooper David Podworski were recognized along with several members of the Chicopee Police Department for their actions while responding to a report of a gunman terrorizing a neighborhood at approximately 8 AM near a busy intersection in the center of Chicopee. Trooper Williams, then assigned to the Governor’s Auto Theft Strike Force (now in VFAS), was the first Trooper to respond with Chicopee PD and started taking gunfire from a subject with an assault rifle. Trooper Vasquez of SP Springfield, responding to calls for assistance, turned the corner in his cruiser and was met with 15 rounds. He was struck several times and suffered multiple wounds. Trooper Williams, along with two Chicopee Officers and a civilian, emerged from cover to pull Trooper Vasquez to safety, and ensured that Trooper Vasquez received urgent medical care quickly. Trooper Podworski, also of SP Springfield, took a position with a Chicopee Officer in the line of fire, and they were able to neutralize the threat sufficiently with return fire so that the gunman retreated further inside the house. Shortly thereafter, the gunman, suffering serious wounds, took his own life. For their heroic and courageous actions, Trooper Williams and Trooper Vasquez received the Medal of Valor, and Trooper Podworski received the Medal of Merit.
Photo (L to R): Trooper Keller Williams, Trooper John Vasquez, Trooper David Podworski