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Gunfire erupts at ‘chaotic’ gathering in Massachusetts, 8 injured, 2 critically

Eight people were injured, two critically, after an eruption of gunfire at a crowded spontaneous gathering in Methuen, Mass., early Sunday morning. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Eight people were injured, two critically, after an eruption of gunfire at a crowded spontaneous gathering in Methuen, Mass., according local police and the Essex County District Attorney’s Office.

The shootings occurred at a large “car club meet up” of hundreds young people organized via social media, Essex DA Paul Tucker said. The people involved range in age from late teens to 22, he said.

“Here we see again gun violence that is striking at the heart of the community and we are working very hard — state police detectives have been on the scene all night with Methuen police and Methuen detectives — responding to a chaotic scene,” Tucker said during a Sunday morning press conference.

Of the 7 victims shot, Tucker said two were in critical condition and the remaining five were listed as stable. One victim had to be airlifted to a hospital. An eighth person suffered a head injury while fleeing the violence. The DA did not disclose the name of the hospitals treating the victims nor were their names released to the public.

“This is still a very fluid investigation,” he said.

Considering the number of gunshots fired, Tucker said, “it’s pretty amazing that more people were not hurt.”

“There were hundreds of people here” Tucker said.

The gunfire broke out at approximately 1:55 a.m. in the area of 100 Lindberg Avenue, Methuen Police Chief Scott McNamara said. Police responded to a “report of a shooting. We had received multiple 911 calls in that regard.”

Police from Lawrence, Dracut, North Andover and troopers with the Massachusetts State Police provided mutual aid during the early morning response, officials said.

“We are certainly deeply saddened by the tragic events of last night and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. These acts of senseless violence do not represent the values of our community,” McNamara said.

Tucker said the violence came during a “social media, Snapchat event where people meet up” in unused parking lots in out of the way parts of communities. He said events like these are popping up throughout the county and the Merrimack Valley.

McNamara said that events like these spontaneous and unsanctioned car club gatherings do not unusually lead to violence, but even if they don’t it’s the policy of his department to “take law enforcement action wherever appropriate to discourage this activity from occurring in the first place.”

McNamara said investigating officers have gathered evidence and have some “very strong leads” but did not have any information about a particular suspect to release at this time, or know exactly what led to the shooting. The police have not recovered any firearms used in the shooting, the chief said, but have gathered casings from “many” fired rounds.

Tucker said that his office and the police department are both hoping the public will step up and fill in some gaps on what occurred early Sunday morning, especially considering the size of the gathering.

“There were hundreds of people involved here and these were terrible crimes, not only for the individuals who suffered these gunshot wounds but their family and the community as well. We are absolutely asking for help,” he said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the DA’s office or the Methuen PD. An anonymous tip can be shared with Methuen detectives by calling 978-983-8794. The Essex DA’s office can be reached at 978-744-6610.


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