Cousins deny charges in Northampton BB gun spree
NORTHAMPTON — Two cousins from Hampden County appeared in Northampton District Court Tuesday to deny charges they are responsible for a February BB gun shooting spree that damaged 13 buildings and one vehicle.
Viacheslav Matsuk, 22, of East Longmeadow and Max Matsuk, 23, of Palmer each pleaded not guilty to 13 counts of vandalizing property and one count of malicious damage to a motor vehicle in connection with the Feb. 9 incident that caused about $7,650 in damage, according to police.
Each of the men was released on his own recognizance by Judge Mark D. Mason on the conditions they inform probation of any change of address and surrender any firearms to the Northampton Police Department.
The day after the shootings, police began to receive reports of damage from the affected businesses including The Millennium Package Store, Local Burger, the India Palace restaurant, Florence Savings Bank, Northampton Wellness Center, Sylvester’s Restaurant, Northampton Bicycle and Pleasant Street Car Wash.
Police viewed surveillance video from businesses in the affected area and noticed a suspicious vehicle driving through the area about the time the first shots were fired.
The vehicle matched one patrol officers noticed Sunday night because it was driving with both the passenger and driver’s side windows halfway down despite snow and frigid temperatures.
The officer had made note of the license plate number and police traced it to Viacheslav Matsuk.
Police learned Viacheslav Matsuk was a student at Westfield State University, where they tracked him down Feb. 12, according to court files.
When police found his car, according to court records, scattered BBs could be seen on its floor.
Viacheslav Matsuk was interviewed at the public safety complex on campus where he told police that he was the one driving but did not fire the weapon.
Viacheslav Matsuk turned over a Crosman 1911 BB pistol with an attached laser scope, a box of carbon dioxide cartridges used to power the weapon and a 2,400 count container of ammunition, according to court files.
Police contacted Max Matsuk at his Palmer home where he told police, “I know what you’re talking about, I was the one who pulled the trigger,” according to court records.
Max Matsuk told police the shootings were not planned ahead and described the spree as “random,” according to court records.
Max Matsuk estimated to police he fired about 25 rounds that night.
Both men are due back in court on April 25 for pretrial hearings.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.