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Springfield police officer stabbed by arson suspect

Suspect Ruben Barrero.
Suspect Ruben Barrero. (Springfield Police)

A Springfield police officer was stabbed in the center of his chest by an arson suspect Wednesday night, but was not seriously injured because the protective vest he was wearing blunted the knife blow, police said.

Officer Greg Vatrano was recovering from non-life threatening injuries, Springfield police said in a statement Thursday.

Springfield police said in a statement that police were on scene of an arson fire on Vermont Street around 9:35 p.m. Wednesday. The resident of the Vermont Streeet residence who allegedly started the fire, later identified as Ruben Barrero, was spotted on Island Pond Road about a mile away from the fire scene.

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As officers moved in to arrest him, Barrero, 39, allegedly “turned towards an officer hitting him in the chest with a knife,’’ police wrote in the statement. “The knife struck the officer’s trauma plate, likely saving his life.”

After what police called a “violent struggle,’’ Barrero was handcuffed. He allegedly tried to kick two officers and vowed to try and stab others.

“I stabbed one officer tonight and I will stab another,” Barrero allegedly told police.

He is currently charged with armed assault with intent to murder, arson, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, and resisting arrest.


John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.