How to Be a Good Witness: One Tip Leads to SWAT Team Involvement and Triple Arrest
Lowell, MA — One witness and victim’s tipping off some criminals to police not only lead to the apprehension of the thugs that robbed him, but the deployment of the local SWAT team in the process, the Lowell Sun reports.
It’s a powerful testimony of how much something so little as reporting to police can do.
As the Lowell Sun reports:
Three teenagers were arrested Monday night following an alleged armed robbery that prompted the deployment of a SWAT team in the Centralville neighborhood, police said.
Malia Melendez, 18, of Lowell was arrested and charged with armed robbery, as were two juvenile suspects whose identities were not released, Lowell Police Capt. Jonathan Webb said Tuesday morning. Police had previously said the two juveniles were the only arrests. The suspects and victim were all known to one another, Webb said. Police allegedly recovered a sawed-off shotgun and a 9 mm handgun that they believe were involved in the robbery.
Around 6:55 p.m., a person approached a patrolling officer on Aiken Street and said he had been robbed at gunpoint by two males in a car near the intersection of Ludlam Street and Cumberland Road, Webb said. The victim fled the scene and told the officer that the car was then parked in front of 83 Dalton St. The officer located the car at that address “and immediately saw a sawed-off shotgun” visible inside of it, Webb said. Police believed 83 Dalton St. to be abandoned. Supervisors decided to call in the regional SWAT team, which Webb said was not unusual for such a situation.
“We had suspects we believed could be hiding and barricaded in a building,” Webb said. “We’ve confirmed firearms are definitely involved and they were wanted for a violent felony. It’s not unusual at all to call SWAT.”
At some point during the initial officer’s response to Dalton Street, police identified Melendez and determined she had allegedly been involved in the robbery.
When the SWAT team arrived, an armored truck shined spotlights into the windows of several homes while heavily outfitted and armored members of the SWAT division entered the building in question. Lowell officers and detectives continued their investigation at the same time and checked a home at 56 Lilley Ave. they believed to be related. The two male suspects were found at that address, Webb said, and they were arrested.
Police also allegedly recovered a 9 mm handgun in connection with the arrest on Lilley Avenue, Webb said. The incident was wrapped up within two hours of the initial armed robbery call, according to Webb.
Now, here’s why I’m sharing this somewhat lengthy piece with you: there’s value in being not only a good concealed carrier, but a good witness as well.
This witness was less likely prevented from carrying than they were simply not carrying — Massachusetts is not the easiest state to concealed carry in — but there’s a lesson for all of us.
Sometimes you can’t carry where you’re working or running errands — it’s a massive pain, and it’s an enormous safety risk, but it’s a fact of life. When we can’t mitigate an emergent threat with our defensive tool then we absolutely must be good witnesses. That’s how we stop crimes down the road.
This one witness tipped off authorities to three criminals who had committed a violent crime. Those are robberies in the future prevented — it might even be juveniles given a chance to right their path before it’s too late.
The worth of that can’t be calculated.
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