By Gretchen M. Putnam
---- — LAWRENCE — A North Andover man fell into a South Union Street store Thursday night, bleeding heavily from a stab wound to the chest, gasping for air, and unable to tell police who tried to kill him.
Juan Gonzales, 31, of North Andover, walked into the at about 4:30 p.m., and according to witnesses, dropped to his knees. A woman inside the store told police Gonzales appeared to be “peeking through the window as if someone were after him and he was gripping his chest.”
He told the woman to call for an ambulance, then he crawled on the floor before curling up into a fetal position and saying he couldn’t breathe, according to the police report.
Officers arrived and helped Gonzales remove several layers of clothes to find the wound. Officer Patrick Noonan wrote in his police report that he saw a horizontal gash near Gonzales’ heart. Another witness, who works at Lawrence General Hospital, gave Noonan Latex gloves to put over the wound as Officer David Levesque applied pressure.
Noonan said “at this point Gonzales was struggling to keep consciousness. I was performing sternum rubs and yelling at him to stay awake.” Noonan asked if he knew who stabbed him and “he shook his head no” according to the report.
Medics who arrived at the scene applied a dressing to Gonzales’ wound and transported him to Lawrence General Hospital. A medical helicopter later transferred him to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston where he was treated for life-threatening wounds.
A spokeswoman at Beth Israel said the hospital had no information to release about Gonzales.
“He was in ICU (intensive care unit), but we were told his condition has improved,” Lawrence police Chief John Romero said last night.
Nobody has been charged in connection with the stabbing. Police would not comment last night on whether they have any suspects and whether Gonzales knew his assailant.
“The investigation is progressing and we expect to make an arrest in the case,” Chief Romero said, declining to elaborate.
Detectives still haven’t determined where the stabbing occurred, but believe it was “somewhere on South Union Street,” Romero said.
Police canvassed the area Thursday night, took photos and reviewed video footage from surrounding businesses to try and locate where the stabbing occurred and to try identify a suspect.
“The roads and sidewalk were wet, and slushy from the snow and rain,” Officer Noonan wrote in his report. “We were unable to locate any blood or signs of where Gonzales was possibly stabbed. “
State Police crime scene technicians are assisting with the investigation.