LAWRENCE — Two men were being treated for gunshot wounds last night — one at a Boston hospital where he was airlifted — in the wake of a shooting incident that police say may be drug-related.
Police identified the victims as Julio Rivera, 30, of Lawrence and Michael Smith, 31, of Laconia, N.H. Rivera, who was flown by medical helicopter to Boston, was listed in stable condition. Smith was being treated at Lawrence General Hospital for non-life threatening wounds, according to police.
"We believe at this point that this shooting incident may be drug-related and it appears that these two individuals were on different sides of the argument," Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said last night.
Police responded a report of man shot at the intersection at Union and Brook streets shortly before 7:30 p.m. Soon after, Lawrence police broadcast a bulletin to police agencies throughout the region to be on the lookout for a white Mercedes with a New Hampshire license plate that had a window blown out. Police were still looking for the car late last night.
When police arrived at the shooting scene, they found a wounded man later identified as Rivera.
"In the vicinity of where the man was found, there were spent casings from an automatic weapon as well as a handgun," Romero said.
Bystanders told Officer Robert Moody of a man they saw flee the scene who was also wounded.
At the intersection of Jackson and Haverhill streets, Moody found a man later identified as Smith, bleeding and suffering from a gunshot wound, Romero said. "He (Smith) was trying to get into a gray Honda," the chief said.
But police stopped the car and impounded it as evidence.
They also detained the driver, who was being questioned by detectives last night. "We're still looking for the other vehicle in connection with this incident," Romero said.
State police detectives assigned to Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office have joined Lawrence police in investigating the incident.