A police cruiser was shot before crashing and catching fire Wednesday in Millis, Massachusetts, sparking a manhunt and the closure of public schools on Thursday.
State police, local police and a SWAT team, with large rifles drawn, responded to Forest Road after the Millis Police cruiser was shot just before 2:30 p.m. The state police air wing was also on the scene, as were a ballistics unit, crime scene techs and fire investigators.
Police confirm the officer has been hospitalized, but no information on his condition was immediately available.
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Investigators are searching for a maroon pickup truck, possibly a Ford F-150. The suspect is described as a man between 25 and 40 who fired a black handgun.
Around 10:30 a.m., Millis Middle School received a call from someone who "indicated a crime may occur" in the town on Wednesday, according to police. About an hour later, the school received a bomb threat by telephone.
"It is bizarre to have the bomb scare and then that, as well," said Heidi Perkins, who lives near the spot where the cruiser crashed.
While police are not sure whether these events are connected, the town's schools will not be open Thursday.
"Basically, we had an officer who was driving down Forest Road here. He was shot at. We believe two to three shots were fired at his vehicle," said Millis Police Sgt. William Dwyer. "He returned fire, we believe three shots."
"It's kind of hectic right now. The police are doing a wonderful job," said neighbor Bill Whelan, who has lived there for 53 years. "Been here a long time, and I've never had anything like this, and I'm sure it's an isolated incident."
With a community on edge as police investigated, one concerned citizen and Army veteran decided to search for the suspect himself.
"I started following the scanners and listening to the descriptions of the vehicle and the person," said Nick Sheridan. "I just, on my own time, my own fuel, just drove around."
In neighboring Norfolk, a reverse 911 call was sent to residents as police worked to find suspect.
"We were nervous. I brought my friend home instead of her walking home because there are woods behind us," said Norfolk resident Susan Antonio.
Buses from the schools in Norfolk were held until police were able to clear the area.
Both the Millis library and town hall were closed Wednesday during the investigation.
Forest Road remained closed Wednesday night, but a shelter-in-place order that had been issued is no longer in effect.
Anyone with information is asked to call (508) 376-2233.