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Fitchburg shooting triggers manhunt

Heavily armed police gathered in Fitchburg today to search for suspects in a potentially fatal shooting. Two people were in custody by the afternoon.

Rick Cinclair/Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Heavily armed police gathered in Fitchburg today to search for suspects in a potentially fatal shooting. Two people were in custody by the afternoon.

FITCHBURG - Dozens of officers, including State Police, a SWAT unit and a helicopter, surrounded an apartment complex yesterday after a shooting that left a man hospitalized.

But a search for a gunman believed to be barricaded in one apartment came up empty, and by evening, he was still at large. Fitchburg police said in a statement that they have identified a suspect, but declined to name him.

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Antonio Klapkis, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was shot shortly after 7:30 a.m. in the Meadowbrook Village Apartments, a 228-unit housing complex on Meadowbrook Parkway.

State Police said that based on the suspicion the shooter was holed up in one apartment unit, they dispatched a helicopter, a special tactical operations team, and detectives assigned to Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.’s office to assist Fitchburg police. A command post was set up to oversee the operation.

However, officers entered and searched the apartment, but did not find the gunman, State Police said. They left the development at about 12:30 p.m. and swiftly headed to an unrelated call, where three men were arrested in a home invasion case.

Klapkis was taken by helicopter to UMass Memorial Medical Center, where he was in stable condition yesterday, according to police.

Residents said they believe he had moved to Meadowbrook with a group of people within the past few weeks after taking temporary work in construction.

Luis Diaz, 20, who has lived at Meadowbrook Village his entire life, said it is not uncommon to see police activity there. “It’s normal,’’ he said.

Diaz said he heard the gunshot and then screams.

“It was so close I thought I was getting shot through my window,’’ he said. “The dude screamed for, like, 10 minutes straight.’’

Residents said security cameras had been installed during the past few years, which seemed to quell criminal activity.

“It’s been quiet for a long time but this will make Meadowbrook a worse place,’’ said Jonathan Quiroga, 21.

Quiroga said he has considered moving but has lived in the complex his whole life.

“It’s my house,’’ he said. “It’s what I call home.’’

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