Police: Mass. murder suspect driving vehicle with VT license plates

WENDELL, Mass. (WWLP) – A woman has died following a shooting in the eastern Franklin County town of Wendell overnight, and Chicopee police say the suspect later traveled to their city; where he fired a shotgun at a worker at a trucking company.

According to dispatch at the state police barracks in Athol, troopers were called to Wendell after a woman was allegedly shot by a man with a shotgun near West Street. Troopers say the woman’s son called in the shooting. They said the woman was shot by a man who she knew.

Mary Carey, spokesperson for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, says the victim, who was 48 years old, has died.

Mike Wilk, spokesperson for the Chicopee Police Department, says Lewis Starkey III, 53, of Wendell, is wanted in connection to that homicide. Wilk said that following the killing in Wendell, Starkey is alleged to have gone to Specialized Trucking Company on Griffith Road in Chicopee. There, he allegedly fired a shotgun at a worker who was behind glass. The worker received a cut after being hit by shattered glass, but Wilk says Starkey’s weapon malfunctioned, and he ran away.

Starkey is now wanted on charges of murder, armed assault with intent to murder, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

“At this time, the suspect is still on the run,” Wilk wrote in a statement sent to 22News. “He is to be considered to be armed and dangerous. If you see the suspect, immediately dial 911 and give the information. DO NOT approach this party.”

Starkey is believed to be driving a red 2013 Lincoln MKX with Vermont license plate number QLTMKR.

Neighbors in the small town of Wendell are shocked that this kind of thing could have happened in their quiet community.

“Nothing happens in Wendell. I was shocked to see the news van over here this morning and that’s why I came over to see what was going on. It’s just totally unbelievable,” Cheryl Richardson of Wendell said.

Located between the larger towns of Montague and Orange, Wendell is home to only 848 residents, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

Red Lincoln MKX similar to the one believed to be driven by Lewis Starkey, III. Image Courtesy: Chicopee Police Department
Red Lincoln MKX similar to the one believed to be driven by Lewis Starkey, III. Image Courtesy: Chicopee Police Department

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