By Dave Rogers
---- — SALISBURY — A quiet side street became the epicenter of a massive police operation Friday when more than a dozen state police officers swarmed a three-story beach house on Liberty Street hoping to arrest a local man wanted for murder, according to state police.
Police activity began around 4:30 p.m. when police, armed with an arrest warrant, visited 19 Liberty St. The man was not there, prompting local and state police to obtain a search warrant for the premises. With search warrant in hand, more than a dozen police officers entered the house before midnight, and would remain there throughout most of the night.
During the operation, a state police trooper stood at the entrance to Liberty Street, located just off North End Boulevard heading south towards Broadway, and diverted traffic. Liberty Street residents were asked to remain in the homes. As part of its investigation, members of the state police’s crime prevention and control unit (CPAC) were called to the scene by the Essex County District Attorney’s office. A large CPAC truck was brought to the scene and parked across the street.
Many questions remain unanswered as to the identity of the man suspected of murder and what authorities found inside the house that would warrant the district attorney’s office to dispatch CPAC. Typically a CPAC team, a wing of the state police detectives unit, is called after serious crimes including the death or serious injury of a person.
A state police official referred all questions to the Essex County District Attorney’s office. A district attorney spokesperson also did not respond to a phone call yesterday. Salisbury police Chief Thomas Fowler would only confirm that local detectives Anthony King and Steven Sforza worked in tandem with state police in executing a search warrant in regards to an ongoing investigation at that residence.
According to neighbors, the team was there for several hours, well past midnight. One neighbor, who didn’t want to give his name due to his profession, said the house had been rented to the man in question more than two months ago. Since then the house has been a hub of activity, mostly at night, with cars coming and going, lights on in every room with the shades closed. Other neighbors spoke of loud parties and other suspicious activity coming from the residence.
According to the town assessor’s page, the house is owned by Joseph and Suzanne Armano of Salem, N.H. Neighbors described the street as normally very quiet after the summer season with many owners leaving for the winter.
Even with the suspect still at large, Fowler assured residents that in no way do police feel the public is in danger.