Victim in Westhampton stabbing describes attack

  • Police search for a man involved in the alleged stabbing Friday night on Northwest Road in Westhampton. GAZETTE STAFF/Jerrey Roberts

Published: 10/24/2017 8:05:40 PM

WESTHAMPTON — The victim of a Friday night stabbing and attempted robbery, 19-year-old Timothy Gavrilov of Chicopee, says he was working alone on his father’s property when a stranger emerged from the basement holding a weed whacker.

“Usually it’s me, my brother and my dad,” Gavrilov said Tuesday. “It was pretty alarming because I was working there the whole day.”

According to Gavrilov, the alleged assailant was a black-haired, white-skinned man, wearing a red bandana over his face, a white shirt and pants. When confronted, the man tried running into the woods. Gavrilov grabbed him and tried wrestling him to the ground. During the scuffle, he suffered stab wounds on his forehead and leg.

“He had my pocketknife,” Gavrilov said. “My pocketknife was in my car so I guess he had to go there first.”

Gavrilov said the intruder told him to hand over his boots and cellphone, then escaped into the woods. Police are still searching for the suspect.

“That’s never something I think would happen there,” Gavrilov said. “This is a quiet place.”

The incident remains under investigation by Westhampton Police, Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Northwestern district attorney’s office and other state police units, according to Mary Carey, the district attorney’s office spokeswoman.

Afterward, Gavrilov checked his car. The attacker had not taken his wallet, keys, or any important cards. Gavrilov walked across the street to seek help from his neighbors, Diane and Edward Thornton, who were outside saying goodbye to their grandchildren.

“We’ve lived here since 1979 and we’ve never had any problems in this town, it’s just intensifying,” Diane Thornton said Friday. “Break-ins have been happening more frequently.”

Thornton called 911 while her husband gave Gavrilov a cloth to stop the bleeding. According to Westhampton Police Chief Dave White, Gavrilov was “walking and talking” when the ambulance arrived to take him to Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

Police dusted the car for fingerprints but found none, indicating the alleged attacker may have been wearing gloves, Gavrilov said. A K-9 unit was unable to track the man, but did find Gavrilov’s boots, cellphone, and the weed whacker discarded nearby.

“I didn’t think he wanted to stab me, it wasn’t his intention to stab me,” Gavrilov said. “He was just walking and when he saw me he started running. He just got scared.”

His father, Yuriy Gavrilov, owns the property at 32 Northwest Road, but Timothy Gavrilov said he is not familiar with the Westhampton area. He lives in Chicopee with his wife, studying civil engineering at Springfield Technical Community College and working for his father part time.

Gavrilov’s family immigrated from Kazakhstan to the U.S. about 20 year ago. They found community in the Russian Evangelical Baptist Church in Westfield, which supports a large community of Russian, Ukrainian, and Kazakh expatriates. Many church members helped build their place of worship at 886 North Road in Westfield, and some are currently helping the Gavrilovs build their house in Westhampton.

“I go to a big church, we all help each other out, and almost all are immigrants,” Gavrilov said.

He insists that his alleged attacker was neither a co-worker nor member of the church, given the close-knit nature of the community.

“I’m fluent Russian. I speak Russian,” said Gavrilov. “It was definitely someone American — his accent was En glish.”


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