Altercation sends elderly man to hospital

GREENFIELD — An afternoon scuffle involving an elderly man on Main Street caused quite a commotion Wednesday.

Several police cruisers, a fire engine, and an ambulance were sent to the area of Main and Davis streets, after a sidewalk altercation between two men ended with the older man on the ground at about 3 p.m.

“We didn’t know exactly what we were dealing with at first,” said Sgt. David Rice. He said the size of the response made the incident seem worse than it actually was.

Spots of blood the size of a dime and quarter could be seen on the sidewalk’s bricks where the man went down.

Though bystanders said it appeared the man had been knocked out by the blow or the ensuing fall to the sidewalk, Rice said he didn’t lose consciousness.

Police continued to try to figure out just what transpired, as they sorted through conflicting stories Wednesday night.

Here’s what they do know.

A man estimated to be in his 70s was injured after being “definitely either pushed or punched,” and wound up being taken to Baystate Franklin Medical Center, said Rice. Alcohol use by the injured man may have been a factor in the incident, he said.

As police piece the story together, they will determine whether the incident warrants criminal charges.

“It’s a question of what happened beforehand, whether the other man acted in self defense, and whether he used too much force,” Rice explained.

The severity of the man’s injuries is also a factor. Rice said officers will follow up at the hospital and check on him.

Rice said the man’s identity and exact age were not immediately available, as responders put an emphasis on getting him to the hospital rather than gathering his information.

Officers interviewed the other man who was involved in the altercation, as well as a relative who had accompanied him Wednesday. They also took statements from bystanders, many of whom said they only saw the aftermath of the incident.

Criminal charges, if any, would not be brought until police have a better handle on the circumstances that led to the injury, said Rice.

If a criminal charge is filed, it would likely be assault and battery on an elderly or disabled person, since the victim is more than 60 years old, said Rice. A conviction on that charge carries maximum sentences of three years in state prison, 18 months in county jail, a fine of $1,000 or a combination of fines and incarceration.

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