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September 27, 2013

Suspicion, then violence, on Salem State shuttle bus

Suspect was giving driver 'weird looks,' rode for several loops


He immediately gave police a description of the suspect and the direction in which he had fled, toward Canal Street, and pointed out the second victim sitting behind him. She was bleeding from a 3-inch cut on her hand and was shaking.

She later refused to be taken to a hospital. The bus driver was taken to Salem Hospital for his chest wound.

The driver could not identify what kind of weapon was used.

Police used the information they had to launch a search of the area for a white male with longer reddish hair, a white shirt and a red hat. Campus police officers began searching parking lots of businesses near the intersection of Canal Street and Loring Avenue. Two of the officers, Sgt. Joseph Dunn and Detective James Gargano, turned onto Jefferson Avenue and saw a flash of white in the bushes near Dube’s Seafood Restaurant.

As they approached the restaurant parking lot, they saw a man fitting the suspect’s description climbing into an old brown Toyota Camry.

As the driver, later identified as Wells, began pulling out, he nearly struck the police cruiser. The officers turned on their lights and siren and followed briefly, trying to get the driver to stop, but broke off the chase when the Camry sped up and began weaving through traffic, nearly hitting an ambulance on Jefferson Avenue.

The license plate on the Camry revealed that it was registered to Wells’ mother, Denise. Police then confirmed through school officials that Wells was a student at the school. His campus ID looked like the man police had been chasing.

Officers went to check on Wells’ former roommates at the dormitory where he had lived.

As the investigators, Dunn and Gargano, were returning from interviewing the bus driver at the hospital, they learned that witnesses were reporting seeing the suspect driving toward Loring Avenue and Bowditch Hall, the dormitory there.

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