Editor's note: Milford Police Officer Robert Pavia is credited with stopping a fleeing vehicle May 30, following an armed assault at the state Registry of Motor Vehicles. Pavia, an officer for 18 months in Milford, will be recognized Monday by the Milford Board of Selectmen. He is a 12-year officer who formerly worked as a detective with the MBTA Police. He recounted the arrest at gunpoint in an interview last week:
Working a traffic detail, police officer Robert Pavia heard a call for an armed assault at the state Registry of Motor Vehicles. A man had reported another man threatened him with a gun.
Within a minute, the dispatcher reported the man, a Framingham resident, had fled in a black Honda Pilot, providing a description of him and the plate number.
Standing on East Main Street, at Cedar Street, Pavia said he thought the escape would take the suspect his way. The 42-year-old officer stepped further into the street, and started scanning the approaching cars, slowed by noon-time traffic.
Within moments, he spotted the mid-sized SUV, being driven by a young woman. He identified the passenger as matching the description of the suspect. "Right then, instantly, I stepped into the middle of the travel lane and drew my weapon," Pavia said. "I pointed it at him while yelling at her to stop the vehicle."
The car was about 10 feet away. "About five feet from me she stopped."
Was there a moment when he wondered if she would stop? Sure, said Pavia, but he didn't have much time to think about it. "There's nothing else I really could have done to stop the vehicle. If I had stood off to the side, chances are they would have gone right around me."
Instead, she stopped, and complied with his order to stop the car and throw the keys out the window. She put her hands on the steering wheel as instructed, Pavia said. He called dispatch to report he had the vehicle stopped, and gave his location.
At that point, the suspect's hands dropped from view.
"I ran up on the vehicle, ... yelling at him to show me his hands," Pavia said. He yanked the door open and pulled the suspect from the vehicle. He hand-cuffed him.
At that point, police Detective Michael Mastroianni and other officers arrived, and Pavia had some help on the scene.
Officers recovered the loaded handgun, with five rounds of ammunition, underneath the front seat.
The arrest played out in front of a large number of witnesses, including drivers and the state construction crew working on East Main Street.
At his arraignment, the suspect, identified as Julio Orlando Acevedo, 21, of 37 H Interfaith Terr., Framingham, was charged with carrying a firearm without a license, receiving stolen property worth more than $250, assault by means of a dangerous weapon, and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Within a few hours, Pavia said he was back working on his detail.
"You never know what you're going to with the calls, what you're going to run into," Pavia said. "luckily, everything worked out great that day."