Pair charged with shooting gun, then threatening clerk in Great Barrington
GREAT BARRINGTON — Two men who allegedly were firing a gun at Lake Mansfield late Tuesday were arrested shortly after they flashed a weapon at a clerk outside a nearby convenience store.
Nathan Bona, 20, of Southfield, and Austin Whitney, 22, of Great Barrington, were believed to be responsible for gunshots that residents heard about 10 p.m. in the beach parking lot at the lake, according to police. A storage shed was struck, but no injuries were reported.
Moments later, a clerk at the Cumberland Farms on North Main Street told police that two men in a pickup truck were "causing a disturbance" at the store.
"When the clerk confronted the pair, one of them lifted his shirt and allegedly displayed a firearm tucked into his waistband before the men fled in the truck," town Police Chief William Walsh said in a prepared statement.
The men were pulled over on Christian Hill Road a short time later and arrested, said Walsh, who noted they did not rob the store.
A store clerk told The Eagle on Wednesday that police had been there to collect surveillance camera footage.
Walsh praised the residents who immediately called police to report the gunshots.
"In this case, we were able to locate [the suspects] within minutes of the first call," Walsh said.
The resident who made that first call, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons, said the police arrived in less than two minutes after he reported the shots.
"I heard one shot that sounded distinctly like a gunshot, not fireworks, so I zoomed off my porch and saw headlights over at the beach," said the man, who lives a stone's throw from the lake, on the opposite side of the beach. He said less than a minute later he heard three or more shots.
"I immediately grabbed the phone and called 911," he said. "Then a big truck peeled away and sped by my house."
He said at some point, he saw the truck come back around from Castle Hill Avenue onto Hollenbeck Avenue.
Another nearby resident said her daughter heard the shots but thought they were fireworks.
Police have not recovered the gun, which they believe the suspects hid after the confrontation with the clerk.
Bona was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, threat to commit a crime and driving under the influence of liquor; Whitney was charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.
Both were released on personal recognizance by a clerk magistrate Wednesday morning, and are scheduled for arraignment in Southern Berkshire District Court on Thursday.
Town Police Sgt. Adam Carlotto and Officer Christopher Peebles are leading the investigation.
Reach staff writer Heather Bellow at 413-329-6871 or @BE_heatherbellow.
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