I’ve been working on a tight deadline since getting back from the scene of this incident tonight, so I’m just going to post my story and include some photos and a map link.
By Robert Mills
BILLERICA — Mike Tirone, of Billerica, was watching an action movie last night just as an armed home invasion down the street left an unidentified neighbor in critical condition with a gunshot wound.
Tirone, who lives with his wife and children on Upton Street in the Lakeside Mobile Home Park, said he noticed police lights outside about 7:30 p.m., but figured the cops had just pulled someone over.
His telephone rang.
Billerica Police were calling to tell Tirone and his neighbors to stay inside their homes. Police had tracked three suspects in an armed home invasion and shooting into his mobile home park.
Police said they were called to 45 Oak St., a white, split-level home just down the street from the mobile home park, at 7:12 p.m., for a report that a man was shot during a home invasion and robbery attempt made by three men who forced their way inside.
This is a photo of 45 Oak Street that I found in the Billerica Assessor’s online database. Not sure how old it is.
The men fled on foot toward the mobile home park as a male resident of 45 Oak Street was left with two gunshot wounds from a shotgun, according to police radio broadcasts. That man was rushed to Lahey Clinic in Burlington, where he was in critical condition late last night, police said.
A police canine unit was at the scene within about five minutes, and was later joined by at least two other canine units as police scoured the area for three white males in their 20’s, at least one of whom was armed.
As Tirone spoke with reporters, a state police helicopter circled overhead, using infrared cameras to scour trails, train tracks, power lines and roads in the area.
Police officers armed with semi-automatic rifles blocked off Oak Street and identified everyone who tried to pass down it.
By 9 p.m., police had already checked surveillance video on a nearby business for evidence.
Tirone and another neighbor both said the area is typically quiet, and that they had never noticed trouble at 45 Oak St.
“It’s a tight-knit community when you’re in here,” Tirone said. “I’ve got three boys and my wife is at work, so I’m just hoping everything is okay.”
State Troopers from the ballistics and crime scene services units helped process the home for evidence as state police detectives attached to District Attorney Gerard Leone’s Office joined the investigation. Deputy Chief Daniel Doyle helped coordinate the investigation at the scene.
Police Chief Daniel Rosa soon arrived at the police station, releasing a brief statement about the shooting shortly before 10 p.m.
Tewksbury Police were at the scene within minutes since the incident occurred near the Tewksbury line, and Wilmington Police assisted as well.
Police radio broadcasts described the suspects as white males, 20 to 25 years old. The man with the shotgun wore a mask, stood about 6-feet tall and was skinny, according to radio broadcasts. The other two men were shorter, 5-feet, 5-inches to 5-feet, 6-inches tall. One wore a purple shirt and the other wore a red hoodie.
Police say the incident was not a random attack.
Investigators are asking anyone who was in the area at the time and who may have information to call them at 978-667-1212.