TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Police in Taunton are actively searching for a suspect following a homicide in the city Thursday morning.
According to the Bristol County District Attorney’s office, a man was shot outside an apartment building on Fifth Avenue at about 9:30 a.m.
The victim – identified as 23-year-old Gordon Weekes of Somerville – was transported by a friend to Morton Hospital, where he died shortly after.
Taunton Police Capt. John Reardon said the suspect fled the scene and a manhunt is underway.
“It’s disturbing, this close to home,” said Taunton resident Owen McCarthy.
Heather Watts said she lives in the apartment building near where the shooting happened. The gunshots woke her up around 9:30 Thursday morning.
“I’m just petrified that if happened and it went through my kid’s window, he could have got killed,” she said.
Police aren’t releasing details on what led up to the shooting – but one man said she saw what happened right after the shots were fired.
“I heard a few shots and when I looked out the window, there was a man slumped over in the back seat of an SUV,” said Scott Lefaivre. “A woman ran to the building across the street and grabbed another guy. They drove off up the street with the door still open in the SUV. And then the police showed up.”
Fifth Avenue was reopened at about 1 p.m. and police cleared the scene as they continue to search for the suspect.
Lockdowns that were put in place at Bristol Community College and Hopewell Elementary School have since been lifted.
BEEnotified: All clear at the BCC Taunton Center. Shelter in place is lifted. https://t.co/XUypClA7FD for more information.
— BristolCC (@BristolCC) March 24, 2016
In a message to parents, Taunton Superintendent Dr. Julie Hackett ensured all students and staff at Hopewell are safe.
“This message is being sent to the Taunton school community on behalf of Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Julie Hackett.
The Taunton Police Department has lifted the “Secure and Hold” at Hopewell Elementary.
Parents, please be advised that school department staff members will be riding along with the children on the buses that service the general area of Hopewell School to ease any potential anxiety.
The following buses are:
Taunton High School: T-7, T-26, T-32, T-38, T-35 and T-46 Friedman Middle: T-5, T-6, T-8, T-9, T-27, T-29 Chamberlain Elementary: T-5, T-10, T-43 Galligan Elementary: T-36
Van students: Van students from the above sites along with Leddy Pre-School will also be escorted.
If, as parent or guardian you would like to dismiss your child earlier to avoid riding the bus home, please feel free to do so.