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February 20, 2013

Haverhill High student charged in stabbings

Police: Gang fight outside party involved machete, Tasers

HAVERHILL — Police have charged a 19-year-old Haverhill High School senior with stabbing two men with a machete after a dance party erupted into a fight between two gangs.

Witnesses told police some people received electric shocks from Tasers during the fight, while several were attacked by a man wielding a machete. Three other suspects are being sought in connection with the stabbings, which took place late Friday night, police said.

Police charged Joan Manuel Mendez-Sanchez, 19, of 52 Cedar St. with two counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon. Police said Mendez-Sanchez surrendered after he learned police had a warrant for his arrest.

According to police, witnesses said Mendez-Sanchez is a member of the Trinitarios gang — a well known Dominican gang that uses machetes as their primary weapon, police said.

At his arraignment yesterday in Haverhill District Court, Mendez-Sanchez was ordered held without bail pending a dangerous hearing scheduled for Tuesday. That hearing will determine whether he is too dangerous to be set free on bail.

School Superintendent James Scully said Mendez-Sanchez is member of the Haverhill High Class of 2014 and that he is in his second year at the school.

“Until this matter is resolved, he will not be allowed back into Haverhill High,” Scully said following yesterday’s court hearing.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, witnesses gave conflicting estimates of the number of people who attended a dance party at 528 Hadley West Drive, part of a large apartment complex, that began about 9 p.m. on Friday. Estimates ranged from 30 to 100 people and witnesses said the event was advertised on Facebook as a “Small Jam.”

A 25-year-old woman who rents the apartment told police her brother and his friend hosted the party and that after she arrived home at about 11 p.m., she asked people to leave when a fight broke out. A 17-year-old told police the fight started when her boyfriend caught her dancing with Mendez-Sanchez and became jealous. Witnesses told police the fight continued outdoors and more people arrived. The fight involved members of two gangs, police said.

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