Date: August 6, 2005
By LISA REDMOND, Sun Staff
AYER -- A 20-year-old Pepperell man is being held without bail, accused of holding his mother and girlfriend hostage at gunpoint for five hours Thursday night while firing shots at heavily armed police officers wearing night-vision goggles.
The standoff at the home of Nicholas Litchfield, of 39 Shattuck St. finally ended when police fired tear-gas canisters into the home.
Litchfield was scheduled to return to Ayer District Court on Monday for a dangerousness hearing.
He pleaded innocent yesterday to charges of assault by means of a dangerous weapon (four counts), kidnapping (two counts), illegal possession of a firearm, discharging a firearm, and possession of a sawed-off shotgun.
As the situation escalated, the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) SWAT team and crisis negotiators were called in.
During negotiations, Litchfield repeatedly shot at the SWAT team members, who were armed with automatic weapons and night-vision goggles, as they surrounded the house, according to Pepperell police.
As negotiations broke down and Litchfield continued to fire the handgun throughout the house, tear gas was shot into the home.
Litchfield fled the house and surrendered to SWAT team members after a brief struggle. He received a cut on the head during the struggle and was taken to Nashoba Valley Medical Center for treatment.
Police said it appeared Litchfield had been drinking.
The girlfriend and Litchfield's mother, whose names have not been released, fled the house. They were uninjured.
“The restraint used by all officers on (the) scene during a very dangerous and volatile situation was extrodinary,” Pepperell Police Chief Alan Davis said.
“It is unfortunate the incident happened. However, the fact nobody was shot or seriously injured proves that preparation and training pays off,” he said.
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