EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 7, 2013

Assault rifle seized from 'EBK' gang members

Member arrested Tuesday was also working at DPW as part of grant

By Jill Harmacinski

---- — LAWRENCE — A loaded assault rifle, a loaded handgun, masks and walkie-talkies were seized after a late-night traffic stop and chase that resulted in the arrest of three more members of the “Everybody’s Killers” street gang, police said.

And like previous EBK members arrested, one of those picked up Tuesday was working at the Department of Public Works through a federal $800,000 anti-crime and violence reduction grant overseen by the city’s Community Development department.

Julio Pizzini, 18, of 1 Gale St.; Hector Medina, 19, of 80 Railroad St.; and Oscar Concepcion, 19, of 112 Farnham St., were all arrested and charged with illegal possession of a large capacity firearm, illegal possession of a loaded firearm, and two counts of illegal possession of a firearm without a firearms identification card.

Pizzini worked 32 hours per week for the city cemetery and was praised by his supervisor, said Art McCabe, program manager in the Community Development Department.

“He’s been doing very well,” McCabe said. “But like many of these kids, they are stuck in the middle of two different lifestyles.”

EBK members are a gang of young men suspected in nine city armed robberies recently. Three alleged EBK members were arrested last month after attempting to rob a South Union Street store and then barricading themselves inside. After attempting to shoot their way out, the trio surrendered to police who had the store surrounded.

With information compiled by the police department’s crime analysis division, city police officers were on the lookout for a blue-green Honda Odyssey that EBK members were using for street and commercial armed robberies. Officers were warned multiple firearms, including a high-capacity assault weapon, could be in the Odyssey minivan and they should use extreme caution.

At 11:20 p.m. Tuesday night, Officer Carl Farrington spotted the Odyssey, with Massachusetts plate 22AS84, on Park Street. As he followed the Odyssey onto Daisy and Holly streets, he called for backup from other officers.

After stopping the Odyssey, Farrington reported there were six people inside. They were all wearing dark clothing and at least three had on “knit hats that appeared long enough to be pulled down as a mask,” Farrington wrote. The minivan smelled of marijuana and everyone inside appeared nervous, he added.

Farrington ordered Pizzini to get out of the van. Pizzini fled while another person inside the minivan put the Odyssey into drive and sped away. Officers Harold Rogers, who had arrived near the scene, was able to grab Pizzini and place him under arrest, according to police reports.

Sgt. Shawn Quaglietta followed the Odyssey as it weaved its way down Fairmont Street to Auburn Street to Hampshire Street. At Hampshire and Myrtle, the Odyssey blew through a stop sign, almost striking a car that was stopped, facing east on Myrtle, Quaglietta wrote.

Finally, on Ashton Place, the Odyssey crashed into parked car. The five people inside jumped out and ran, splitting up and sprinting through backyards. Quaglietta found Concepcion hiding under a porch staircase and placed him under arrest. “I commanded him at gunpoint to show me his hands; he complied,” Quaglietta wrote.

With help from officer Charles Saindon, Medina was arrested in a backyard on Phillips Street. “He had a noticeable limp, which could have come as a result of jumping fences,” Quaglietta wrote.

Warrants were also issued for the two who evaded police late Tuesday night, according to police.

Police Chief John Romero said he believes police prevented a crime late Tuesday night.

“Given the history of the gang and what was in the car, we believe we interrupted something,” Romero said.

He previously described EBK as “a bunch of thugs.”

On Jan. 22, Michael Tesaun Alicea, 19, Richard Mora, 18, and Ruben Saldana, 18, all believed to be EBK members, were arraigned on armed robbery and related charges stemming from the incident at the 280 S. Union St. market.

Alicea, Mora and Saldana all worked for the city’s public works or cemetery departments through the “Safe and Successful Youth Initiative Grant,” which targets troubled and "at-risk" males between the ages of 14 and 24.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter under the screenname EagleTribJill.