Springfield man charged in fatal shooting near Holyoke Mall


Staff Writer
Published: 7/30/2020 2:32:41 PM

HOLYOKE — A Springfield man answered to a murder charge in court Thursday after he turned himself in following a fatal shooting near the Holyoke Mall on Wednesday afternoon.

Skyzen Encarnacion, 19, pleaded not guilty to murder in Holyoke District Court and was ordered held without bail by Judge William P. Hadley, according to the court clerk’s office. He was appointed a lawyer for his arraignment and is due back in court on Aug. 26.

On Wednesday around 6:02 p.m., the Holyoke Police Department received a call reporting that two females were fighting at the Holyoke Mall, according to James Leydon, spokesman for the Hampden district attorney’s office in a statement. When police arrived, they found that the women had left.

Ten minutes later, around 6:12 p.m., the Holyoke Police Department received multiple reports of shots fired, Leydon said. Evidence indicating a shooting was found in the roadway on Holyoke Street near the Lower Westfield Road intersection, he said.

A male victim, identified as 23-year-old Carlos Ruemmele of Springfield, was privately transported to Baystate Medical Center before officers arrived at the scene. Ruemmele died from his injuries at the hospital, Leydon said.

State and local police had identified Encarnacion early on in their investigation of the shooting and sought an arrest warrant, according to Leydon and court documents. Early on Thursday morning, however, Encarnacion turned himself in at the Springfield Police Department. He was later transported to the Holyoke Police Department where he was booked and charged with murder.

The application for Encarnacion’s arrest warrant, which relies heavily on the police interview of a person close to Ruemmele who witnessed his killing, sheds more light on what occurred Wednesday. The witness told police that prior to the shooting, they were at the Holyoke Mall when they got into an argument with a woman who accused the witness of disrespecting her. The witness told police that Ruemmele and Encarnacion, both showed up to the scene. The groups were escorted out by mall security.

After leaving the mall, the witness told police that they were stopped behind Ruemmele at the traffic light on Holyoke Street. It was then that Encarnacion allegedly pulled up to the side of Ruemmele’s car and began arguing with him, according to the witness in court documents.

When Encarnacion opened his car door “as if to get out and fight,” Ruemmele walked up to the passenger side of Encarnacion’s car, according to the court filings. Encarnacion then closed his door and began shooting Ruemmele with a black semi-automatic handgun before speeding off, the witness told police. The witness told police they were “absolutely sure” Encarnacion shot Ruemmele, according to court documents.

The witness told police that Ruemmele and Encarnacion had boxed together as they were growing up. Encarnacion does not have a license to carry (LTC) or a firearms identification card (FID), though his mother does have an active LTC and has a .380-caliber Smith and Wesson gun registered to her, according to court documents. Six .380-caliber shell casings were found at the scene of the crime, the documents state.

The investigation into the homicide is on-going and being conducted by the Holyoke Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit assigned to the Hampden district attorney’s office and the Hampden district attorney’s office’s murder unit.

This is the fourth shooting death in the city this year. Earlier this month, 43-year-old Jose Bonilla, of Holyoke, was shot to death on Suffolk Street. Two other men were fatally shot within days of one another in January; the first being Jesus Otero Marrero, 21, of Holyoke, who was found by police the morning of Jan. 10. Police on Jan. 11 found Racquese Wright, 21, of Springfield with gunshot wounds; he later died.

Three people have been charged in Marrero’s death.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni and Holyoke Police Chief Manny Febo expressed their sympathies to Ruemmele’s family in the statement.

Michael Connors can be reached at mconnors@gazettenet.com.

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