Police: Lawrence teen pistol whipped over spilled drink

COURTESY PHOTO. Regional SWAT team members meet at the Methuen Police Department before executing a search warrant and arresting a 17-year-old girl early Monday morning.

LAWRENCE — A dispute that started over a spilled drink at a Ferry Street party ended with SWAT teams being sent to homes in Lawrence and neighboring Methuen early Monday morning to make arrests, police said. 

Angel Jomar Rodriguez, a 21-year-old local gang member with a "notorious history of dealing with firearms, and discharging them," and his 17-year-old girlfriend were arrested and charged Monday morning, police said. 

Rodriguez was "extremely reckless and dangerous" as he wielded a loaded gun in a small basement where 50 people were having a party, police said. 

A Lawrence police SWAT team was sent to Rodriguez's 28 Summer St. home to arrest him on a variety of charges early Monday, including assault and battery with a firearm and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Meanwhile, a regional SWAT team comprised of Methuen and other area police officers, went to his teen girlfriend's home on Spruce Street in Methuen and arrested and charged her with carrying a firearm without a license, police said. 

Ammunition was seized by the officers although a firearm was not recovered, said Lawrence Chief Roy Vasque.

SWAT teams were sent to the homes to execute search warrants and make arrests because of both Rodriguez and his girlfriend's ties to gangs and firearms, Vasque said. 

"We thought it was going to be more than 'a knock on the door type of thing,'" Vasque said.

Police in Lawrence launched an investigation into the pair after a late-night report Saturday of a 19-year-old man being "pistol whipped" at a 66 Ferry St. party, according to police.  

The teen who was assaulted had a cut to the rear of his left ear and significant bruising. He was taken to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment, according to a police report. 

The victim told police he was at the party, having a good time, when another male pushed him and said, "You made me spill my drink on my shoes." 

Pushing and shoving ensued and the suspect pulled out a black firearm and put it up against the victim's stomach, according to police. 

The teen said "the next thing he knew he woke up on the floor surrounded by multiple people and bleeding from the head," according to police.

Police said three witnesses identified Rodriguez, a member of the "ABZ Crip" gang, who is also known as "Scooter" and "Scooter Loc," as the suspect from the party. 

"Mr. Rodriguez is also known to the department due to his involvement in multiple shots fired incidents within the city" and "has been named the defendant in several criminal complaints for such crimes as discharging of a firearm, assault to murder, and carrying a firearm without a license," according to a report by Lawrence Officer Alexander Ovalles. 

Rodriguez, who was also arrested and charged with carrying a firearm without a license and illegal possession of ammunition without an FID card, was held without bail on Monday following his arraignment in Lawrence District Court.

His girlfriend, age 17, was released to the custody of her parents, according to police. 

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill. 

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