EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

May 15, 2012

Salem police nab man after dive from third floor, swim

SALEM, N.H. — A suspect survived a dive from a third-floor balcony early Sunday morning, but he was arrested shortly thereafter.

Police were called to Lancelot Court apartments just before 3:30 a.m. Sunday regarding a dispute earlier that night. In the first call, the officer who responded couldn't find the alleged dispute.

But police were called again at 3:24 a.m. with a tip that the suspect they were looking for was in a third-floor apartment.

When police entered the apartment, they saw two feet disappearing through the sliding door to the balcony, Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said.

"It appeared to the officers, he dove out the slider, taking the screen with him," Patten said. "There was a tree there and they thought he was heading for the tree. But he fell through some branches and landed on his back."

He estimated the distance Justin Barbetta, 27, fell to be between 20 and 30 feet.

After the fall, Barbetta got to his feet and took off, with police in pursuit.

"The officers were relatively surprised he was able to get up and run," Patten said.

And run he did.

Police called in Officer Dan Nelson and his K-9 Trigger. They tracked Barbetta through the woods and into a river. The water was waist deep, if not deeper, Patten said.

Trigger jumped in after Barbetta and took him down on the opposite riverbank. There, police took Barbetta into custody, but not before the Manchester resident briefly struggled with the officers.

Barbetta refused medical treatment and was taken to the station for processing. There, he became "extremely belligerent," Patten said, refusing to cooperate with police.

He eventually was booked and taken to the county jail. He remained at the jail yesterday afternoon.

Barbetta is charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief. He also had active bench warrants for aggravated drunken driving and operating after suspension.

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