By Bill Cantwell
---- — HAVERHILL — Police said they have rounded up a group of young men who tried unsuccessfully to shoot another man in the Mount Washington neighborhood — an area targeted by officers because of its street crime.
Yesterday, officers made the last of four arrests of men involved in the incident, said Lt. Robert Pistone, spokesman for the Police Department.
Devaughn Johnson, 19, of 20 Grove St., Haverhill, was on the run until he was arrested at 5:02 p.m. yesterday, Pistone said. Haverhill officers assigned to the department's Street Crimes Unit and U.S. Marshals tracked down Johnson at 200 Franklin St., where he surrendered with the home surrounded, Pistone said.
Johnson is one of three men charged with surrounding the victim on High Street, after luring him out of a building in that area, police said. Johnson was held without bail overnight and scheduled to be arraigned today in Haverhill District Court.
Police said they have a video that shows Kadeem Pimental, 19, of 88 Fountain St., Haverhill, trying to fire a gun three times at the victim while Johnson and the other men surrounded the victim.
No other information was immediately available from police about how they got the video. Police said the video and their investigation shows Pimental did try to shoot the victim, but the gun malfunctioned and no bullets were discharged.
Pistone said the men who were arrested and the victim all know each other. It appears the assault was "retaliation'' for a past incident, Pistone said, but he could release no other details.
Pistone said a so-called Municipal Staffing Grant received by Haverhill allowed the Police Department to focus extra officers on the investigation and get help from other law enforcement agencies, such as the U.S. Marshals.
The gun incident happened March 7, police said. Officers who arrived at the scene saw several men who ran away, police said. Officer Brian Bailey of the Street Crimes Unit chased one of the men and caught him. He was carrying a gun, police said. He was identified by police as Marion Wilder, 23 of 76 1/2 Friend St., Amesbury.
Wilder was charged that night with carrying a firearm without a license, as well as outstanding warrants from Newburyport District Court.
After Wilder’s arrest, Haverhill police continued the investigation, Pistone said. It revealed that a group of four to six men lured another man out of a building on High Street and a gun was pointed at him by Pimental, Pistone said.
Police also used the video of the attempted shooting to identify Wilder, Johnson and Errol Ellis, 20, of 25 10th Ave., Apt. 3, Haverhill, as being involved, Pistone said. In addition to the initial gun crimes that Wilder was charged with, police were granted arrest warrants for all four men on the charges of armed assault with intent to murder and assault with a dangerous weapon, Pistone said. He said they were also charged with affray — being involved in violent criminal activity as a group.
Ellis surrendered to police last Friday and was arrested on the warrant charges. Also on Friday, Haverhill detectives and the Street Crime Unit, with help from U.S. Marshals, used an arrest warrant to take Pimental into custody at his at 88 Fountain St. home, police said.
"This investigation and manhunt for these individuals is the direct product of the plans that have been put into place with the Municipal Staffing Grant (state grant money for a focus on Mount Washington) with the focus on identifying violent criminals in our city, investigating them, charging them, and relentlessly pursuing them until they are ultimately removed from the streets of our city,'' Pistone said in an email.
"The Haverhill Police will continue to use the resources afforded through the Staffing Grant and its many law enforcement partners to take violent criminals off our streets,'' Pistone's email said. "Just as was done in this case we will not stop until we bring violent offenders to justice.''