FROM THE REGION.
Police probe shooting on Vernon Street
WORCESTER - Police are investigating a shooting that occurred Friday night or early Saturday morning.
It marks the third shooting in Worcester this month. There was one shooting in the city in December 2011.
On Saturday, police were called to St. Vincent Hospital about 12:15 a.m. on a report that a gunshot victim had walked into the emergency room. Police found a 15-year-old boy who had been shot in the left hand.
The victim told police he was walking near 64 Vernon St. with two other people when a truck drove by and someone fired shots from the vehicle, police said.
A bullet hit the teen in the hand. He ran home and family members drove him to the hospital, police said.
Detectives learned that the teen had been at a house party on Suffield Street. Police had gone to the home Friday night on reports of a loud party and later on a report of gunshots.
"The victim stated that he and his companions left the party and headed home when he was shot," police said.
Authorities are trying to determine the motive and identify the shooter.
"December is showing a spike in nonfatal shootings, and this trend highlights the need for more restrictive gun laws and the need for the court to get tougher on individuals arrested for illegal possession of a firearm or those who commit a crime with a firearm," Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said.
The Police Department is adding patrols to the Vernon Street area, which it designated a tactical response area after this weekend's shooting. A tactical response area previously was established in the Fox Street neighborhood after a shooting there Dec. 16.
Anyone who has information about the shootings may send an anonymous text to 274637 beginning with TIPWPD, or submit an anonymous message online at www.worcesterma.gov/police, or call Worcester police detectives (508) 799-8651.
Housing Authority effort targets illegal dumping
WORCESTER - The Worcester Housing Authority has stepped up efforts to identify illegal dumpers at its properties, with 33 cases occurring in the past two years, according to a news release.
"Over the past several years, we have made a concerted effort to eliminate outsiders illegally dumping materials into our Dumpsters," Executive Director Raymond V. Mariano said. "Over the past five years we have investigated 59 cases of possible illegal dumping."
In those cases, $11,345 has been collected in fines, and in eight, criminal warrants were issued.
Security cameras are used to catch people illegally dumping. Also, residents have notified WHA staff about illegal dumpers. Those caught have included Worcester residents, people from other communities, local business owners and contractors, Mr. Mariano said.
"We find sofas, bags of trash and all sorts of building materials that don't belong in our Dumpsters," he said. "The WHA spends nearly $400,000 annually for waste collection and disposal. This bill is high enough. We don't need any help making it bigger."
Worcester Housing Authority properties include Elm Park Tower Apartments, Lincoln Park Tower Apartments, Webster Square Towers, Pleasant Tower Apartments, Murray and Wellington Apartments, Belmont Tower Apartments, Great Brook Valley, Curtis Apartments and Lakeside Apartments.
Police say toy drive for needy kids a success
WEBSTER - There's less than a chance of it being a blue Christmas for more than 100 boys and girls in town who are less fortunate - because of the men and women in blue at the Webster Police Department, as well as the kindness of others.
In the spirit of the holiday season, Police Chief Timothy J. Bent announced that the Webster Police Department has completed another successful toy drive. All the toys were delivered in time for some needy children to have a merry Christmas.
Chief Bent said, "We want to thank all those who give in these uncertain times."