DA identifies armed man shot, killed following standoff with Worcester police

WORCESTER — A man wearing body armor was shot and killed on Grafton Street Tuesday night.

According to Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early, Worcester emergency communication services got a call around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday from a man, 31-year-old Phet Gouvonvong of Worcester, claiming he had an explosive device and an assault rifle. Early said the man was threatening to detonate the device.

Negotiations immediately started over the phone for over 30 minutes as Worcester Police responded to Grafton Street. The SWAT team and bomb squad also rushed to the scene. Early says the man was wearing body armor and a backpack.

“The first thing I heard, the policeman said, ‘Can we find some way to end this without a problem,’” said Sue, who recorded the video from her apartment above the scene.

It was just past midnight in Worcester when investigators say Gouvonvong became more and more agitated.

Police say he was heavily armed and said he had a bomb that he would detonate.

“I heard the man yelling at the cops I don’t know what he is saying and all of sudden you just heard three-four gunshots and that was it,” said Anita Perez from Worcester.

He was making fervent movements. He was in discussions with the officers as a result of those fervent movements at 12:05 a.m.

Negotiations continued over the phone and with four negotiators at the scene. After a lengthy attempt to deescalate the situation, Early says the man advanced toward police officers and at that point, there were multiple shots fired. The man was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS.

Gouvonvong was shot, and he was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS,” said Early.

Investigators are working to find out what kind, if any explosives are out there.

Police are searching Gouvonvong’s apartment less than a mile away, looking for evidence.

“The bomb squad will also being going into that apartment – we do not have any evidence at this point that there are any other explosives, but again we are just going into the apartment at this time,” said Early.

As far as background on the 31-year old man, he was not on the police radar.

“He really wasn’t known to the police, the Worcester police department,” said Early.

Witnesses say negotiators and police did the best they could to deescalate the situation.

“I think they did a good job because I mean somebody with a rifle and going on for so long they were trying to talk to him and it was just getting worse at the end you could hear it escalating – he was screaming at the cops,” said Perez.

“I got up and I checked on my daughter, and as I was walking back to my bedroom, I heard two gunshots, said Sarah Kovach, who lives nearby. “I went over to my window and I could see there were cops already there. So I went outside to see what was going on and there were already police and a whole bunch of people. When I first came out, there were people inside the Walgreen’s parking lot farther up until the police had them push back and then they pushed them even further back later on so they were trying to make everyone stay away from that situation.”

The scene was near the 290 exit. Police blocked off Grafton street from Waverly to Cutler streets.

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Early says the investigation is in its early stages and he added that they are working closely with the Worcester Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police on the incident.

Police are asking any witnesses who have any information or video to contact them at 508-799-8651.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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