Joseph Solomon, Chief of Police
Quinn Public Safety Building
90 Hampshire St.
Methuen, MA 01844
For Immediate Release
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Media Contact: John Guilfoil
Methuen Police Call Attention to Officer Safety After Multiple Incidents
METHUEN — Chief Joseph Solomon reports that the Methuen Police Department responded to multiple incidents this week that resulted in an injured officer, threats against officers and charges against a man who left a psychiatric institution, and charges against three juveniles during an incident in which a police officer was assaulted and suffered a broken shoulder.
The incidents come during a week that also includes shots fired at police officers in Haverhill last night and the killing of a sheriff’s deputy in Maine.
“This has been a particularly difficult week for law enforcement, including here in both the Merrimack Valley and in Methuen.” Chief Solomon said. “These incidents are examples of the types of unpredictable situations law enforcement officers face while doing their jobs,”
Summary of Incidents:
At approximately 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 24, officers were dispatched to a residence on Noyes Street to conduct a well-being check on a man who had walked away from a Boston hospital psychiatric program and allegedly uttered threats against hospital staff and members of law enforcement.
Officers heading to the scene soon noticed a red pickup truck parked near a boat ramp leading to the Merrimack River. The truck was positively identified as belonging to the individual in question. Officers approached and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the driver reversed his vehicle — nearly striking a police cruiser — and fled toward I-93 southbound. Officers briefly pursued the vehicle but quickly called off the chase out of concern for the safety of the driver and the general public.
Officers then responded to the individual’s home and found a pellet gun, a toy gun, and a box of real ammunition. The individual does not have a license to possess ammunition.
At 1 p.m., hospital staff and Boston Police notified Methuen Police that the man had returned to the hospital. As a result of the incident, he faces several charges including Refusing to Stop for Police, Operating to Endanger, and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition upon his release.
Early on Tuesday, April 24, officers were dispatched to the Key Program on Mystic Street for a report of three male juveniles attempting to leave the property without permission. After initially agreeing to stay, the three then fled the building in different directions.
One juvenile was taken into custody quickly, while officers pursued the other two. While attempting to capture one of the boys, the boy in custody forcefully pushed an officer, causing him to fall into a fence and suffer a cut to his head and a broken shoulder. All three juveniles were eventually taken into custody. The juveniles, all age 14 of Methuen, face a variety of charges, and the one who allegedly pushed the officer faces added charges of Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer, and Assault and Battery With a Dangerous Weapon.
“My thoughts are with the Methuen Police officer who was injured carrying out his duties yesterday, as well as with the officers who risk their safety every day to keep our community safe,” Mayor James Jajuga said.
Then at 11:39 p.m. Tuesday, Methuen Police were alerted to a vehicle pursuit that began in Haverhill and passed through Methuen before it ultimately ended in Windham, N.H.. During the pursuit, a suspect fired shots at officers, but no one was struck. That suspect faces several charges out of Haverhill.
Reviewing Each Situation — Training Occurs Every Day
The uptick in threats and acts of violence against police officers gives the department and city leadership significant pause. Shift and bureau commanders will be stressing officer safety throughout the week. Additionally, the Methuen Police Department will review each incident with patrol officers on shift as a training lesson and a reminder of the inherent dangers present in every situation,
The Methuen Police Department also regularly consults with experts and reviews its procedures on dealing with mentally ill suspects and juveniles to ensure that officers are providing the best possible public service with minimal risk to themselves, suspects, and civilians in the area.
“Safety comes first. The safety of our officers, our citizens, and those accused of a crime is paramount to our mission,” Chief Solomon said. “I am extremely proud of the work being done by our officers every day. This week shows, once again, how difficult the job of a police officer is and how any incident can turn dangerous for the officer involved in an instant.”