EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 19, 2012

Booze bus brawler charged with trying to murder cop

LAWRENCE — An attempted murder charge was filed against a Methuen man accused of jumping on a city police officer’s back and then slamming him headfirst into the pavement as the cop tried to break up an alcohol-fueled street brawl early Saturday morning.

Officer John Earnshaw was left with a large abrasion on the top of his head, his hair ripped out, along with abrasions to his left hand and both knees.

Melvin Gomez, 28, of 21 Strathmore Road, was held on $7,500 cash bail after his arraignment on assault with intent to murder, assault and battery on a police officer, obstruction of justice, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and inciting a riot charges in Lawrence District Court yesterday.

Four others were also arraigned in connection with the booze brawl police encountered after responding to the area of 14 Strathmore Road at 3:15 Saturday morning.

Gomez, at the request of prosecutor Kate Sarmini, was also court-ordered to remain alcohol-free while the case is pending.

Defense lawyer Stephen Wright said Gomez, a union carpenter with a 9-year-old son, knows his actions Saturday morning were not right.

“My client knows his behavior was not correct,” said Wright, explaining Gomez had been on a party bus tour that stopped at various bars in Boston that night. “There is no justification for getting involved with police when they are in the middle of their job,” Wright continued.

Judge Mark Sullivan, however, rebuffed Wright’s request to set bail at $2,500.

Police received six 911 emergency calls about the Strathmore Road disturbance which involved as many as 40 people. Every Methuen police officer on duty responded along with emergency back up from Lawrence and state police after Earnshaw was assaulted.

As police tried to subdue the situation, the crowd “became extremely upset and began yelling at and circling,” pushing and shoving the officers, according to a report.

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