METHUEN — Chief Joseph Solomon, Mayor James Jajuga and Superintendent Brandi Kwong report that three individuals — an adult and two juveniles — were arrested today following an altercation at the Methuen High School varsity football game.
ANTHONY RIVERA, AGE 19, OF LAWRENCE, a JUVENILE MALE, AGE 17, OF LAWRENCE and a JUVENILE MALE, AGE 17, OF METHUEN were arrested and charged with:
- Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon to wit a Motor Vehicle
- Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Crash
- Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon to wit a Firearm
Methuen Police are actively seeking a fourth suspect in the incident, but do not believe there is an active threat to the community at this time.
At approximately 2:50 p.m. Saturday, an officer stationed at the front gate of the stadium initiated a pursuit of one of the suspects after a witness reported that he had displayed a gun. The officer observed the gun as well and pursued the suspect toward a gray Honda sedan in the parking lot, which fled once the suspect was inside, striking the pursuing officer.
The officer conducting the initial pursuit saw the driver point a firearm in his direction from inside the vehicle prior to being struck by the car.
Methuen Police officers working an enhanced detail at the game began pursuing on foot as the vehicle fled down Pleasant View Street, crossed over East Street and crashed on Larchwood Road. Following the crash, all four occupants fled on foot and pursuing and responding officers were able to take three of them into custody.
The three who were arrested were taken into custody within five minutes of the start of the incident. A Methuen Police K-9 was requested to the scene in order to attempt to locate the fourth suspect.
Haverhill Police responded to a mutual aid callout to assist remaining Methuen Police officers in providing security on site for the remainder of the game, which was in the second half of play when the incident occurred. The game concluded and the crowd dispersed without incident.
Methuen Police Explosive and Firearm Detection K-9 Units also responded and conducted a thorough search of the parking lot and the area along which the vehicle fled and did not locate a firearm.
Methuen Police and the Methuen Public Schools worked in close coordination prior to today’s game to ensure an increased police presence in response to an altercation following Friday night’s freshman football game, which involved Lawrence High School students. The incident was handled last night by the Lawrence Police Department School Resource Officer, and is being addressed by Lawrence School officials.
“I’m so grateful for the quick response to this incident by the Methuen Police Department, who were there to help keep everyone attending or taking part in today’s game safe,” Superintendent Kwong said. “This kind of behavior has no place in our community, let alone on school grounds, and we will work cooperatively with our police colleagues to address this incident.”
The 17-YEAR-OLD METHUEN RESIDENT is a Methuen High School student and he will be disciplined in accordance with Methuen Public Schools policy.
Superintendent Kwong has been in contact with Lawrence School Superintendent Cynthia Paris regarding the junior varsity football game scheduled for Monday evening at Lawrence High School. Further details about whether or not that game will be played, or any potential changes to the game, will be announced when they are available.
“It’s important to note that, at no time was there any danger to anyone attending the game and that these suspects were brought into custody within minutes of this incident occurring,” Mayor Jajuga said. “I’m grateful for the extraordinary cooperation between our police and school personnel, who went above and beyond to ensure the safety of students, spectators and the community as a whole.”
The officer who was struck by the vehicle was taken to an area hospital for a precautionary evaluation.
Anyone who believes they may have information about this incident is asked to call the Methuen Police Department at 978-983-8698.