EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 15, 2012

Officer injured in early morning brawl

METHUEN — An alcohol-fueled disturbance became so rowdy early yesterday that city police needed help from State and Lawrence police to keep an officer from getting seriously injured, according to police Chief Joseph Solomon.

“Officer John Earnshaw could have been killed,” Solomon said in an interview last night, referring to the officer who was beaten and kicked in a violent brawl on Strathmore Road in west Methuen near the Lawrence border.

“I truly believe that if you smash somebody’s head into the pavement, you can actually kill that person,” Solomon said. “We’re all lucky that it didn’t get more out of control. It just goes to show you what alcohol consumption to the excess can do.”

Five people — one of them a resident of the street — were arrested in the disturbance that broke out about 3:15 a.m. That’s when police received several emergency 911 calls for a large group of about 25 people who were yelling and screaming on the street.

Charged were:

Melvin Gomez, 28, 21 Strathmore Road, Methuen, obstructing justice, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest, 2 counts of assault and battery on a police officer and being a disorderly person.

Kimberly Almonte, 24, 237 North Main St., apartment 9, Andover, assault and battery on a police officer, being a disorderly person and resisting arrest.

Stephanie Ortiz, 22, 143 Bennington St., Lawrence, being a disorderly person and obstructing justice.

Joel Ynfante, 31, 21 Wingate St., apartment 309, Haverhill, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and being a disorderly person.

Joel Sosa, 35, 387 Summer St., first floor, Lynn, disturbing the peace, resisting arrest and being a disorderly person.

Earnshaw, bruised and sore, was treated for injuries at the hospital and was later released.

Chief Solomon wrote an extensive account of the assault on the Methuen Police Department Facebook page yesterday:

“As Officer Earnshaw was handcuffing Ms. Ortiz a male subject (later identified as Mr. Melvin Gomez) came up behind him and grabbed him with both hands putting him in a ‘full nelson type hold.’ He then proceeded to slam Officer Earnshaw head first into the pavement. This caused injury to Officer Earnshaw which later required treatment at the hospital.”

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