EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

August 24, 2013

Lawrence officer feared for his life while wrestling armed suspect

Police nab three and recover loaded handgun after home invasion

LAWRENCE — Lawrence police officer Patrick Noonan said he feared for his life early yesterday when a suspect he had pinned on the ground attempted to pull something out of his pocket while warning “You’re done when I get up, you’re done,”

Noonan had good reason to feel afraid. The man he wrestled to the ground had a loaded gun in his pocket.

The suspect — later identified as Eric Garcia — was one of three city men that police later arrested in connection with an armed home invasion at 233 Jackson St. Residents told police the men tried to break in through a porch window shortly after 3:30 a.m. and that one of the intruders pointed a gun into their first floor apartment.

Soon after police arrived, they noticed three men on a sidewalk near the reported home invasion. Noonan said he drew his gun and ordered Garcia to take his hand out of his pocket and get on the ground. The three men fled. Noonan chased after Garcia and tackled him to the ground.

“Subject’s actions were highly volatile,” Noonan later recalled in his arrest report, noting that Garcia was “kicking and thrashing” while uttering threatening remarks.

“Due to the nature of the call with a description of a gun being shown I felt the safety of my life was in danger and didn’t know what Garcia was reaching for in his pocket,” Noonan wrote in his report.

“I ordered Garcia to stop resisting and delivered several closed fisted blows to the right side of his face and pinned down his right hand in his pocket with my knee so he could not pull it out,” the officer said.

As Garcia thrashed his body around and attempted to break free from Noonan’s hold, the officer said he radioed the police dispatcher for help and squirted pepper spray in Garcia’s face. Officer Keith Salach arrived soon after and helped Noon subdue the suspect, according to the police report. But Noonan said he had to use his baton to deliver “a shin rake” before they could handcuff the resistant suspect.

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