City police were called to Central Street across from Middle Street tonight at 11:20 p.m., after a man was chased down, tackled and stabbed in back while a nearby smoker watched.
Officers were still on their way to the scene when they were told the suspect was a white male, bald, with glasses and a green sweatshirt, who ran up Central Street and took a left on Merrimack Street following the attack.
A man who said he was smoking a cigarette nearby watched as the victim and suspect ran up Central Street from the direction of Market Street.
That witness said the suspect tackled the victim, and then stabbed him as the two scuffled and yelled at each other. The suspect then crossed the street with a large knife still in his hands and told the stunned witness to call 911 before he fled.
An off-duty police officer who was in the Old Court, across the street, ran outside and put direct pressure on the victim’s wound after someone alerted people inside the bar.
The victim remained conscious at the scene, but grimaced and exclaimed in pain as he was treated while sitting, shirtless, in a doorway near Eastern Bank. Firefighters requested a MedFlight helicopter to transport the victim, but were told the helicopter was not flying last night.
The victim was taken out of Lowell to an undisclosed trauma center. Police could not immediately say whether his wounds were life-threatening, but they described the wounds as serious.
I should note that I have no indication at all that this had anything to do with downtown bars. The bars all appeared to be quiet and nearly empty tonight, and the witness told me these guys came running down Central Street from the direction of the the canal.
UPDATE: Police say Jeffrey Cluett, 24, of Rockport, walked into the police station on his own about 2 a.m., and was eventually charged with armed assault with intent to murder in connection with this incident.
Lisa Redmond reports from Lowell District Court that Cluett claims the victim stole his backpack, which contained a laptop and marijuana, and that Cluett acted in self-defense.
The witness I spoke to last night said the attacker was yelling something about being robbed as he chased the victim, who was carrying two bags.
A judge ordered Cluett held on $1,000 cash bail, but revoked his bail on a pending assault case out of Gloucester District Court.