Saturday, 2:15 PM
Fire dispatcher thwarts robbery on Orange Line
(Screen grab from an MBTA surveillance camera)
Police arrested Christopher Blackwell on Wednesday at the MBTA Orange Line's New England Medical Center Station.
By Brian R. Ballou, Globe Staff
An off-duty fire dispatcher thwarted a robbery yesterday inside the MBTA Orange Line's New England Medical Center Station, jumping out of his seat after witnessing a Charlestown man punch another man in the face twice, take his iPod, and flee from the train.
Frank Sullivan, a 53-year-old dispatcher with the Boston Fire Department, chased down the suspect, identified as Christopher Blackwell, and subdued the 22-year-old until police arrived. Sullivan said that when he initially confronted Blackwell, the suspect reached for his waistline as if he was about to pull out a weapon. The incident occurred at about 11:05 a.m.
"That's when I thought about my wife and two children,'' said Sullivan, speaking at a press conference today at the MBTA Transit Police Headquarters on Southampton Street. Sullivan said he also thought about an incident that occurred 29 years ago, when he was shot three times for confronting several men who were disruptive inside a Chinatown restaurant.
Sullivan caught up with Blackwell at the base of an escalator leading up to the street level. There, the two men tussled, falling on the escalator, which carried them to the upper level. Blackwell allegedly punched Sullivan several times, but the fire dispatcher continued to hold the suspect until authorities arrived.
Sullivan and the victim, a student at Suffolk University, were transported to Tufts Medical Center, where they were treated for injuries and released.
Blackwell was arraigned yesterday in Boston Municipal Court on robbery and assault charges.