Westford Man Drowns

Police in Ashland are reporting tonight that a 35-year-old Westford man has drowned in the Hopkinton Reservoir at Hopkinton State Park earlier today.
The state park straddles the Hopkinton and Ashland town line, and Ashland Police say they were called to the Lower Beach at the state park by a 911 call at 5:39 p.m.
They found lifeguards from the Department of Conservation and Recreation already performing CPR, after the lifeguard were alerted by the man’s family that he went missing while swimming.
Lifeguards found the man not breathing in about 6 feet of water and brought him to shore.
Efforts to save him were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at Metrowest Medical Center in Framingham.
Ashland Police are helping the Massachusetts Environmental Police with an investigation into the drowning. Police did not immediately identify the man.
The drowning is the second at the reservoir this year, according to police.
The Metrowest Daily News reported that a 28-year-old Milford man drowned in the reservoir when his canoe overturned on May 22.

Murder Arrest

I’m not at work yet but I should get this up here in case anyone’s checking the blog but not the paper.
I sure did luck out last night. No one at Lowell PD has been able to comment on this investigation in any way, shape or form, but according to arrest records Mr. Nunez was booked at 12:02 a.m., about two minutes after I go off the clock for the night.
I have a tendency to check arrests right at midnight when murder investigations are underway, so the timing was pretty awful on that.
I do have to tip my hat to my editor, Tom Zuppa, who was working with me on Saturday, though. Tom made the decision not to publish the information we obtained from an admitted junkie who is friends with one of the victims, as I mentioned in a previous post.
The story she had heard about how the killings happened, and more importantly, who committed them, was very different from the allegations that emerged this afternoon, although some of the details do appear to match up.
I think a lot of us here at The Sun were glad today that we didn’t publish that stuff.
This story should shift over to our court reporter now for the most part.
Although I’m currently waiting for responses from Lowell Police and District Attorney Gerard Leone’s Office because I’m working on a related story about why police and prosecutors say they cannot release more information to the public while conducting these types of investigations.

Fire in Senior Housing

Chelmsford firefighters were called to 8 Sheila Ave., this afternoon about 6:30 p.m., for a report of a fire in a third-floor unit at Delaney Terrace, a senior housing facility owned by the Chelmsford Housing Authority.
Crews arrived to find heavy smoke showing from the third floor, rear of the building but quickly got a hose line into the building and reported the fire was knocked down at 6:41 p.m., while I was still on my way to the scene.
Trinity Ambulance was called in to treat an elderly woman who was in the rear of the building having difficulty breathing, but there have been no other reports of injuries. No word on how that woman is doing, or if she was even taken to the hospital.

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Seniors were evacuated from the building, and by the time I arrived things were well in hand.
According to the Housing Authority’s website, there are 50 residents in the building living in 47 one-bedroom apartments and one four-bedroom apartment. There is a staff member on hand 24 hours a day.
All but two residents were able to return to their units, according to David Hedison, executive director of the housing authority.
Lowell, Westford and Billerica provided mutual aid. The cause remains under investigation.

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Hedison said the woman who lives in the apartment where the fire started was staying with another resident tonight, and that the Housing Authority will find her other accommodations on Tuesday.
She didn’t have insurance to cover the loss of her belongings, so the Housing Authority is going to try to help her with that.
Anyone who wants to contribute should first call the Housing Authority at 978-256-7425 x16 to find out what is needed.

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The resident below the apartment of origin was staying with family last night, but should be back in her apartment later this week once smoke and water damage are fixed.
“The Chelmsford Fire Department was amazing. We could have had a much bigger loss at that site if it wasn’t for their quick response,” Hedison said. “They got everyone out safely, and stayed until everyone was back in their apartments.”

Fire at Lowell Business

Firefighters got multiple 911 calls reporting flames showing from American Training, a business at 150 Industrial Avenue East this afternoon starting about 5:29 p.m.
Crews arrived and discovered a fire had started outside the building right by the front door and then extended into the building, breaking some glass and melting stuff before firefighters quickly knocked it down.

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It looked like some bark mulch next to the front door caught fire, which caught a bush on fire, which caught the building on fire. I noticed the little cigarette can right next to the bark mulch and asked Deputy McCabe whether that was being investigated as a possible cause.

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It is, he said. No one was hurt. The building was empty when the fire started. The exact cause remains under investigation.

Gunshots in the Woods

I grew up around this type of thing in rural Pennsylvania, but police from Lowell and Dracut are currently investigating quite a few gunshots being fired in the woods between Corinthian Drive in Lowell and Skyline Drive in Dracut.
Shooting a gun there in the state forest isn’t necessarily illegal, but police got a call from someone on Corinthian Drive about a single gunshot about 7:30 p.m., and when an officer went to look around he heard at least 7 or 8 more shots.
Dracut Police are also getting calls about this from Skyline Drive, so they have two officers searching the area, as does Lowell.
Sounds like one of the Dracut officers is carrying a long rifle, so don’t panic if you see police with big guns in the neighborhood. They’re just checking to make sure everything is on the up and up.
UPDATE: police just found three people in the woods and are walking out with them now.
No wagon calls or anything, so it doesn’t sound like they’re under arrest.

Double Murder

I’m sure everyone’s heard two women were stabbed on death in Cupples Square Friday afternoon, and that another man was stabbed nearby at 2 Butman Place, but the only real update I can provide is that no one is saying anything.
Police have cited orders from District Attorney Gerard Leone’s Office in declining to release any information at all. I can’t fault Lowell Police for that, because murder investigations are the DA’s to command.
According to the DA’s office the victim’s families still haven’t been told of their deaths, so the victim’s aren’t being named in public.
The DA’s office confirmed both women were from Lowell for me tonight, but declined to release anything else, right down to how old the women were.
What the DA has released on the murders so far can be found here.
Here’s some video of the victims being treated on Friday afternoon.
http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1570028818
I did speak with two people tonight who told me who one of the victims was and a bit about her. One of those people even gave me a detailed description of what happened.
The sources are admitted junkies though, and I’m unable to confirm their information with anyone, so an editor and I decided we’re not going to publish it.
If we published it and said all these things about two women who are now dead, and then discovered the information was untrue, when we knew our sources were questionable, I’m not sure how we could take that back.
I apologize for that, but I do agree with the editor’s decision. Being frustrated with the secretive nature of the DA’s office is not a good reason to start publishing information that we can’t confidently stand behind.
Police are requesting the public’s help with this investigation, though, so if you know all about these women who’s names you don’t know, or know the suspects who’s description isn’t being released, please call the DA’s office at 781-897-6600 or Lowell Police at 978-937-3200.
The DA didn’t mention it, but I’m going to go ahead and suggest that anyone with information maybe also try using Crimestoppers by calling 978-459-TIPS (8477).
Information can also be sent to Lowell Police via Text-a-Tip, by texting TIP411 (847411) with the subject “LPDTIP.”
You can remain anonymous by using the two methods above, but can still receive up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

Someone In the River Screaming 911 – 911

I got called in early today and sent to Perry Street for a report of multiple people in the river being rescued.
Our Photo Editor Jon Hill and Multimedia Photojournalist Julia Malakie had already sped to the scene and really did all the legwork on this story, finding both of my contacts and getting great pictures.
The pictures here are from Jon Hill, the video I’ll be adding later is from Julia Malakie.

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Julia spoke to Carmelo Hiraldo, of Lowell, who said he and his friend Jose Guava, 27, had gone to the riverbank because Guava had a fight with his boyfriend. They were just relaxing and Guava had a few beers before he waded out to the middle of the river and got in trouble.
Guava hit his head on a rock and when Hiraldo first saw him he was unable to stay above water.
“He went down about four times,” Hiraldo said. “He needed help.”
Hiraldo went in to help his best friend, but struggled to keep both himself and Guava above water.
“I had to go underneath the water and pick him up,” he said. “I was just holding on for dear life.”
Hiraldo said he was screaming for help and for someone to call 911, which is what Todd Murphy, 37, of Burlington, heard as he walked along a path near the riverbank. Murphy is pictured below.

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When he heard someone screaming “911,” Murphy cut through some trees to the riverbank.
“I wasn’t sure if they were kidding or not,” Murphy told me on the phone. “But then I looked and saw two guys coming down the falls bobing up and down. They both kept going under.”
Murphy said he grabbed a large stick and held it out so Guava could grab on. He then pulled both men to the riverbank and jumped in to hold them against some rocks until more help could arrive.
It was about a five minute wait, Murphy said.
“It was a little slippery,” he said of the rocks he clung to. “It was kind of tough hanging on to the two of them and the rock at the same time, but luckily (police and firefighters) got there quick enough before we all went down.”
Police and firefighters got the call about 3 p.m., and Officer Christian Hanson waded waist-deep into the water to secure all three men before firefighters used a basket and ropes to pull all the men to safety up a steep hillside seen below.

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Guava was taken to Saints Medical Center, and I’ll get an update on his condition later tonight.
http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1570028818