UPDATE: Police Arrest 16-Year-Old in Swasey Shooting

Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro and Mayor James J. Fiorentini address reporters at Swasey Field. (WHAV News photograph.)

A press conference took place on the very spot of Saturday’s shooting. Among those present Monday were Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro, Mayor James J. Fiorentini and Recreation Director Vincent Ouellette.

Shortly after Haverhill police said they have video of the man who shot two rival gang members Saturday afternoon at Swasey Field, they arrested a 16-year-old male for the crime.

Police said the juvenile was charged with two counts of assault to murder while armed, one count of carrying a firearm without a license, one count of carrying ammunition without a FID card, and two counts of discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling. He was also arrested on a warrant out of Essex Juvenile Court for failing to show up in court on a charge of possession of Class D drug with intent to distribute.

“Congratulations to the police on a job well done! In only two days, they reviewed the evidence and the camera footage and made an arrest,” said Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro, appearing with Fiorentini, Recreation Director Vincent Ouellette and other city officials at a press conference late Monday afternoon, said an arrest was imminent. The briefing took place on the spot where shots were fired. Fiorentini said the city isn’t giving up on the popular park.

“Our job is to react, but not overreact. Our job is to plan, but not to panic, and that’s what we’re presenting here today. We will not abandon the people in this neighborhood. We will not abandon this park. As all of you can see this is a beautiful park in a beautiful neighborhood, and we will not abandon it,” Fiorentini said.

While there is already video surveillance of the park—and that has provided a photo of the shooter—officials say they will be adding mobile video equipment as well. The additional equipment will provide officials with a 360-degree view.

Swasey Field was recently renovated, and a water spray park added, with the help of a $1.1 million state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant. The city added $100,000 in matching funds the city’s allocation of annual federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

“We are very hopeful that we will be making an arrest in the very near future on this. It’s an unfortunate incident that happened, but it’s one that we are very familiar with. We know how to deal with this type of thing, and I’m very confident that. Shortly, we will have the perpetrators in custody,” the chief said. Within a few hours, DeNaro made good on the prediction.

Captain Robert P. Pistone said Haverhill and state police tracked the suspect for two days “based on images taken from video surveillance at Swasey Field as well as from witness statements.”  The arrest took place at Temple and Reed Streets.

DeNaro noted the shooting took place between rival gangs—members of which may be as young as 15 to 17 years-old.

“You know, unfortunately, if somebody has the mindset to commit a violent act at any time, it doesn’t matter if you have five cops or 500 officers, they’re going to do it, and this is one of those cases. There was just short tempers involving people that are living what I consider to be a dangerous lifestyle,” he said.

The mayor said there will be an increased police presence in the area in the form of extra cruiser patrols and officers on foot, bicycles and all-terrain vehicles. He said he is also moving forward with a junior park ranger program.

“We have kids. They will be in uniform. They will be reporting to a supervised adult who will be walking around the park. They’ll be in uniform, they’ll have a radio,” the mayor said.

He said police will also be present at every single league game for the foreseeable future. Asked whether local teams will be encouraged to return after the shooting incident, the mayor answered, he expects there will need to be a “cooling off” period and team managers will need to feel comfortable returning.

DeNaro said his department has long focused on the neighborhood. He explained, police regularly partner with many state and federal agencies, including U.S. Homeleand Security, Drug Enforcement Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


Haverhill City Councilor Michael S. McGonagle, chairman of the council’s Public Safety Committee, and Recreation Director Vincent Ouellette.

2 thoughts on “UPDATE: Police Arrest 16-Year-Old in Swasey Shooting

  1. Well the issue is there still is another alleged person involved he has not been found where is he so everyone wants to commend Haverhill for apprehending one of them what about the second person my sons attended a baseball game on Thursday of that week and every family did not feel comfortable or safe you can spend $2 million to pretty up a park but you can’t pretty up the neighborhood hoodlums and gang members Thank God the baseball leagues took immediate action and removed our children from that horrible place it was in evitable that in due time something like this would occur there and sure will occur again if it was gang related what about retaliation so disgusted

  2. Great work by Haverhill P.D. Its sad to hear of an incident like this in a family neighborhood at a park where families and athletes should enjoy themselves and feel safe and comfortable. Thank you Mayor Fiorentini for modernizing the park and thank you Haverhill P.D. for your fast action in apprehending an alleged shooter.
    Let it be known that this type of violent behavior will not be tolerated in Haverhill.