Billerica Police got a 911 call reporting that someone fired a single gunshot outside of the new Cumberland Farms store at Boston Road and Phiney Street this afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
Seven minutes later, officers had two men in custody, handcuffed and facedown on the ground near 25 Bridge Street.
Here is a picture of a police cruiser hauling one of those men back to the Billerica Police station. I missed getting a photo of the suspects by about 2 minutes, and my lens cap on my camera didn’t open all the way as I hurried to snap this shot.
I’m still waiting for a press release or a chance to talk to Detective Lt. Roy Frost to confirm exactly what happened, but based on police radio broadcasts I believe a single gunshot was fired, and that at least one person was injured during a scuffle with the men who were responsible for the gunshot.
I talked to a guy who was pumping gas nearby, who said he didn’t realize anything was happening until he heard a single gunshot and saw two men run down Phiney Street.
Police initially just detained the two suspects as they waited for witnesses to the gunshot to identity them. The witness identification procedure was completed as I drove to Billerica, and both men were arrested just minutes before I got to the scene, according to radio broadcasts.
Police said in radio broadcasts that a silver .357 magnum was not recovered when those two men were arrested, so canine units from Billerica, Lowell and the Environmental Police helped search for the gun between Bridge Street and Cumberland Farms.
I’m not sure if they ever located it.
I’ll update with more information and the names of those arrested as soon as I get the information. Here is the description police broadcast of both suspects moments before they were located.
The first suspect is believed to be named Joshua. He is described as being about 5’8, 210 pounds, about 23-years-old, with curly hair, a mustache and chin hair. He should be wearing a short-sleeved collared shirt and dark shorts.
The second suspect is believed to be named Michael. He is about 5’10, 200 pounds, and built. He has short hair. He has tattoos, including an “NY” tattoo on his right forearm. He should be wearing a gray short-sleeved shirt and shorts.
UPDATE: This is not what I was suspecting!
It turns out this incident began as a kidnapping.
Detective Lt. Roy Frost just released a statement, which you can view here, that says this incident began in Haverhill, where the unidentified victim was kidnapped at gunpoint by two men identified as Joshua Ruiz and Jose Jusino, both 19, and both of Haverhill.
Frost says Ruiz and Jusino took the victim, who appeared to be in his 20’s when I saw him at the scene today, and drove him to Billerica.
“The suspects were attempting to force the victim into providing them with money,” Frost said.
The suspects stopped at the Cumberland Farms when they got to Billerica, and the victim tried to get away, leading to a struggle inside the suspect’s vehicle, presumably the Pontiac Grand Am that police were photographing in the parking lot today.
Frost said a handgun went off during the struggle, but that police do not believe anyone was struck by the bullet. The victim suffered an injury to his hand, but it is not believed to be a gunshot wound.
The victim then ran into the store “yelling for help while claiming that he was being shot at,” Frost wrote.
Ruiz and Jusino were detained as they fled from the scene on foot on Bridge Street.
Both men are being held tonight, charged with kidnapping and armed assault with intent to murder. Frost said the investigation is still active, and that more charges are expected.
Billerica Police will not be answering more questions about this incident. I have a call into the DA’s office to see if I can learn more details.