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Firearm discharge may result in criminal consequences

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BY AMY MCKEEVER

 

After what was alleged to be a “one in a million shot” of a firearm on campus, a now-fired Stonehill facilities employee could spend up to 10 years in prison if convicted on a string of charges stemming from an incident last semester.

 

Dean Tupper, 57, of Easton, is charged with five criminal charges after a co-worker in the facilities department was wounded by a bullet, according to court papers and authorities.

 

Tupper told authorities he was making a homemade bullet when it discharged accidentally hitting co-worker David Pigeon, according to an affidavit filed in Taunton District Court by State Trooper Michel P. Tryon.

 

The charges Tupper is facing are assault and battery by means of dangerous weapon, intimidation of witness/misleading investigators, carrying a dangerous weapon on school property, discharge of firearm within 500 feet of a building in use and improper storage of a firearm. If convicted of all the charges, Tupper could face up to 10 years in prison.

 

The charges stem from an Oct. 11 incident at the Ames Clock Farm where, Stonehill Campus Police and Easton Police responded for an injury to employee David Pigeon’s right knee.

 

Tupper was later fired by the College in connection with the incident.

 

According to the affidavit, Tupper first told authorities that the injury occurred when a rivet accidentally discharged from a Ramset, a tool that shoots nails into hard substances.

 

When that later proved to be unlikely, Tupper said there was no Ramset involved in the incident, according to the affidavit.

 

“Instead he claimed that he (Tupper) was ‘stupidly’ striking a Ramset charge in the plumbing shop vice with a hammer and that it accidentally discharged and a fragment struck Mr. Pigeon,” Tryon said in the affidavit.

 

Then in his third statement to police, Tupper admitted he was attempting to make a homemade bullet by placing a Ramset into the piece and fitting a piece of lead to the top of the charge, the affidavit said.

 

While shaping the lead with a hammer, the charge went off and the projectile struck Pigeon walking by in a “one in a million shot,” Tupper said, according to the affidavit.

 

A K9 team then recovered an unloaded .22 caliber Benelli handgun in a patch of tall grass. Records traced the firearm back to Tupper, according to papers filed in court.

 

Tupper was arraigned in Taunton District Court Jan. 2 and is now free on $1,000 bail with conditions of release being no contact with victim, stay away from Stonehill College and no possession of firearms. He is set to return to Taunton District Court Feb. 13.

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