By Seth Daniel
In what has become an annual feather in the cap of the Chelsea Police Department, another member of the force received top state honors last Thursday, Sept. 22, in collecting the Medal of Valor in the state’s George Hanna Awards for Bravery.
This year, Gov. Charlie Baker presented Officer Joe Capistran with the Medal of Valor on the floor of the state House of Representatives in a ceremony that honored a handful of exceptional officers from around the state.
“The examples of bravery we honor today are just a sample of the countless heroic acts performed by law enforcement professionals across the Commonwealth on a daily basis,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “As we salute this year’s Hanna Award recipients we want to honor their service and let all officers know we are proud and fortunate to have them protecting the Commonwealth each and every day.”
Chief Brian Kyes said Capistran acted with tremendous skill and restraint in stopping a man on February 1, 2015 who had a loaded gun and had fired it before fleeing into the path of Capistran on Chestnut Street.
On behalf of all the members of the Chelsea Police Department, congratulations to Officer Joseph Capistran on receiving the Hanna Medal of Valor at the State House by Governor Charles Baker,” said Kyes, who serves on the selection committee for the Hanna Awards.
It is the second time that Capistran has received a Medal of Valor from the state Hanna Awards.
During the early morning hours on Feb. 1, 2015, Capistran was on surveillance behind City Hall when he heard three loud gunshots nearby. He immediately heard officers over the radio indicating the gunshots had come from the Chelsea Walk and that the armed suspect was running on foot towards Chestnut Street.
Officer Capistran chose a response path so that he could monitor three potential escape routes that the suspect could take to elude capture, Kyes said.
“Responding to the area with his K-9 partner, Ancho, in a marked police cruiser, Officer Capistran observed a man running quickly toward him on the sidewalk,” read a statement read during the ceremony. “Officer Capistran stopped his vehicle in the roadway, exited and began to retrieve K-9 Ancho when he observed a large firearm in the man’s hand. Recognizing an immediate threat to safety, the officer stopped his attempt to deploy Ancho and instead drew his service weapon. Officer Capistran repeatedly ordered the suspect to place his firearm on the ground. Continuing along the sidewalk toward him, the suspect stopped approximately 12 feet from the cruiser and exposed the firearm to Officer Capistran. The officer ordered three more times, “Drop the gun.” Instead, the suspect raised the firearm in a threatening manner in the direction of Officer Capistran. Fearing for his life, Officer Capistran discharged three rounds of his service weapon, which caused the suspect to drop to his knees, yet still keep his hold on his firearm.”
Capistran continued to order the man to drop the weapon, and he eventually did so.
The man was transferred to the hospital and did survive his injuries.
No one was hit by the original gunfire and the man, Igor Peulic, of Chelsea, was charged with multiple firearms offenses.