Southborough Police officer stabbed: Suspect in custody, sgt released from hospital

by beth on June 23, 2020

A member of the Southborough Police Department was allegedly stabbed in the back by a Southborough resident last night. Thankfully, he was released from the hospital this morning.

According to a statement by the DA’s office, Sgt James Deluca’s bulletproof vest, likely reduced the severity of his injury. The suspect is being held without bail at Bridgewater State Hospital until a hearing scheduled for Monday. 

This morning, the SFD posted to Facebook:

INJURED OFFICER: At 8:57 p.m. last night, Southborough Officers began investigating a threats complaint. The investigation led to an interview in the lobby of the Public Safety Building.
One of the Officers interviewing the original complainant was assaulted with a weapon. The suspect fled outside the building to the rear of the complex, and was taken into custody after a brief struggle. He was charged with Assault and Battery with a Deadly Weapon, and is being held at Bridgewater State Hospital.

The Officer was transported to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where he was treated and released early this morning. An investigation is being conducted by the MA State Police.
The Department would like to commend the heroic actions of the Officers involved, along with Southborough Rescue Personnel and the Westborough Police Department.

Further information will be released in conjunction with MA State Police Investigators and the Worcester District Attorney’s Office.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early’s office issued a statement today, referring to about 9:50 pm as the time of the incident. It named Sgt. James Deluca as the officer attacked.

The release detailed:

Sgt. Deluca was interviewing a man about some alleged threats when he called for a mental health clinician to evaluate the man. The clinician recommended further evaluation at a hospital. While Sgt. Deluca was taking an inventory of the man’s belongings, he was stabbed with a folding knife. The knife penetrated the sergeant’s protective vest, but the vest likely prevented more serious injury.

The alleged attacker fled the building but was apprehended a short time later. He was transported to Marlborough Hospital and then Bridgewater State Hospital where he is being held. He was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon.

Detectives with the State Police are investigating. 

Southborough Wicked Local covered the arraignment held over zoom. The story clarifies that the attacker was a 35 year old Southborough man.

According to the article, the Westborough District Court judge ordered the suspect to be held until Monday for a hearing to determine if he is a danger to the public. He will also undergo a competency exam. 

SWL writes:

At the arraignment, which was done via Zoom, [the suspect] said he wanted to remain in jail and ignored DeAngelo’s orders to stop speaking. Eventually, DeAngelo muted [the suspect] and had him removed from the video room.

Prosecutor Michael Luzzo Sr. said [the suspect] went to the police station on Monday and was making “incoherent statements,” and “rambling.” Southborough police Sgt. James DeLuca spoke to [the suspect], and then turned away. A previous release by the Worcester District Attorney’s office said DeLuca had a mental health clinician speak to [the suspect], and the clinician recommended sending [the suspect] to a hospital for an evaluation.

“When the sergeant turned around, he was stabbed in the back with a black folding knife,” Luzzo said.

[The suspect] ran from the police station and was quickly caught. Luzzo praised the officer’s “incredible restraint and professionalism” in making the arrest without incident.

Luzzo said [the suspect] has a history of past incidents with the Southborough Police Department, but did not detail those interactions. . .

[The suspect’s] lawyer, Michelle Diamond, said she had not had a chance to speak to her client, but said it was obvious he needed a mental health evaluation.

“It’s obvious he suffers from some sort of mental illness,” she said. “Obviously he’s having issues right now. He said he wants to stay in jail, that’s where he feels safest.”

Diamond asked for the dangerousness hearing to be held on Monday to give her time to get information from those who have treated [the suspect] in the past and to determine alternatives to incarceration.

Updated (6/24/20 8:58 am): I removed the suspect’s name above. Unfortunately, it seems I accidentally undid some of the replacements prior to posting.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeff Beane June 23, 2020 at 10:05 PM

Use of terms like “suspect” and “alleged” in situations like this amuse. Seems pretty obvious the individual, who is known and referenced by name, is a bit more than a “suspect”. Do we really think some one else, perhaps the police Sgt., stabbed himself?

Reply

2 Forrest M June 24, 2020 at 11:38 AM

Jeff, this comment isn’t very helpful. If you’ve been on this blog before, Beth has a policy of taking names out of police reports and the like, no matter what is being discussed.

I think this incident shines a spotlight on the national conversation about policing, and how important and complicated it is – even for a small town like Southborough. I believe almost all coherent humans know that police play an extremely vital role in society and need to have all the resources needed to do their job properly.

I can also understand why many would argue that police are responding to incidents that don’t seem “police-worthy,” like incidents regarding mental health. While that seems like a mutually agreeable point, this incident tells me there are no blanket statements or policies. If this incident was reported as a “incident regarding mental health” and handled by a single social worker (fully capable, smart and competent, but unarmed and untrained in policing techniques), what outcome would we be reading about in the news today?

Perhaps multiple officers, protective equipment, and the assumption of capable force plays a role in more of these situations than many are led to believe.

Thank you Southborough PD, prayers for Sgt. DeLuca, and sincerely hope the perpetrator receives both the appropriate care and justice.

Reply

3 Chris Robbins June 24, 2020 at 9:24 AM

It is with great sadness to learn of an attack on one of our Town’s police officers, Sgt. James Deluca. The good news is that he has been treated at the hospital, released and is in recovery. An incident of this nature has had an emotional impact on him, his family and his fellow officers..

A supportive get well card would be a very helpful way to extend one’s thoughts, care and appreciation. We are very grateful for his service. If anyone would like to send a card, please mail it to Sgt. James
Deluca at the Southborough Police Department, 32 Cordaville Road, Southborough, MA 01772,

Thank you.

Chris Robbins

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