EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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March 18, 2013

Hail of gunfire erupts outside child's party

LAWRENCE — At least two gunmen unleashed a torrent of gunfire as people were leaving a 7-year-old’s birthday party on Brook Street early yesterday.

Two were wounded, including a 21-year-old who was taken to a Boston hospital with a gunshot wound to his upper left shoulder, and another man who showed up at Lawrence General Hospital 11 hours later with four bullet wounds to his legs, police said.

Two others were arrested, but no one was directly charged with the shootings yesterday. The motive behind the crime was unclear, police said.

“Right now we have more questions than answers,” said police Chief John Romero.

A woman living at 35 Brook St. said she heard gunshots at 3 a.m. as some adult male guests were leaving a birthday party she had for her 7-year-old son.

After hearing two loud bangs, she looked out the window and saw two men. One of them was holding a gun, she told Officer Christoper Cote.

When her three guests ran outside to see what was happening and confront the men, more gunfire broke out, she said.

When police responded, they found three men struggling in front of the apartment house. Jeremy Maldonado, 20, of 39 Foster St., Lawrence, tried to run from police but was quickly stopped by Cote.

Maldonado told Cote he was trying to get away because he is on probation and he had marijuana in his right front pocket. He was arrested and charged with illegal possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. While he was handcuffing Maldonado, Cote said he “heard three more shots in the area.”

Officer Michael Colantuoni, who also heard the three additional shots, ran up Brook Street onto Milford Street. He saw a man wearing a white jacket “walking at a fast past towards the rear entrance of 163 Union St.,” he wrote. “I could see that this male was a carrying a black object in his right hand and I called out for him to stop.”

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