By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — SALEM — A Methuen man wanted for the attempted murder of his former girlfriend in a motel room Saturday night was arrested in the Bronx yesterday.
Walton Valentin, 29, was found hiding in the bathroom of a deli in New York, five days after police in two states started searching for him.
He was arrested by Massachusetts State Troopers John Strazzullo and Brian Bandini, members of the MSP Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, and members of the New York Police Department’s fugitive unit.
That was welcome news to Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten.
“Obviously, a dangerous criminal is off the street,” Patten said yesterday evening, “and we’re extremely happy he’s been taken off the street.”
Police here and in Massachusetts had been looking for Valentin since Saturday evening, when they received a call from a room at the Park View Inn from his alleged victim.
It was there Valentin allegedly tried to shoot the woman after forcing her at gunpoint to drive her minivan from Lawrence to South Broadway earlier Saturday.
The woman told police once they were in the motel room, Valentin pointed a handgun at her and pulled the trigger. The gun jammed. Then, police said, Valentin choked the woman and beat her on the head with the gun, knocking her out.
He left the motel in her van, which was later found abandoned in Andover.
When the woman regained consciousness, she called police. They found her bloodied, with severe lacerations to her head, and she identified Valentin as her assailant. She was treated and released from Parkland Medical Center in Derry.
Valentin was known to area police, including in Methuen, his last known address.
At the time of the alleged assault in Salem, he was wanted on warrants in Massachusetts for assaults on the same woman last month. The Bay State charges include multiple counts of assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, unlawful carrying of a firearm, violation of protective order, and threats to commit a crime, as well as a single home invasion count, according to Massachusetts State Police.
In New Hampshire, Valentin faces charges of attempted second-degree murder, second-degree assault, kidnapping with injury, criminal threatening, violation of a protective order and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
It was unclear last night to which state Valentin will first be brought after court proceedings in New York.
Patten said it doesn’t matter.
“He is in custody and we expect he’ll be brought back to Massachusetts and New Hampshire, we’re not sure of the order,” he said. “I’m not sure it matters. We’re happy to wait until he answers the charges in Massachusetts before he answers the charges here. He will remain in custody.”
The most recent incident started outside the victim’s Lawrence home Saturday. Valentin allegedly jumped into her minivan, held a handgun to her stomach and ordered her to drive to the Salem motel.
She told police he also threatened to have her relatives in the Dominican Republic killed.
Police Sunday went to two different locations in Methuen, searching for Valentin.
Salem, Methuen and Lawrence police were the departments initially involved in the search.
On Sunday, Patten said, his department reached out to the MSP fugitive unit, which he characterized as having better “fugitive apprehension resources.”
“We asked MSP for help,” he said yesterday. “We have worked with them in the past with great results.”
Based on police searches and tips they received, Patten said, they did not believe Valentin was going to stay in the area.