Essex County Sheriff-Elect Kevin F. Coppinger during an interview earlier this year at WHAV.
Essex County Sheriff-Elect Kevin F. Coppinger said it is not yet his place to interfere with the siting of a prison inmate prerelease home on Fifth Avenue, but he has talked with Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini. He said he will step in if issues remain when he takes office in January.
In a telephone interview with WHAV, Coppinger said he is “the new person on the block and coming up to speed.” He warned, however, “there are two versions of the story” and sitting Sheriff Frank G. Cousins should address that.
“I’ll stand on the sidelines and see what’s happening. If it goes into January, and it becomes my issue, I will work with local officials,” Coppinger said, after a stressed morning of his own following a deadly police shooting of an armed robbery suspect earlier in Lynn. Coppinger remains police chief in Lynn until he takes office.
Haverhill city councilors plan to discuss tonight the proposed placement of nine inmates at a three-family home at 36-38 Fifth Ave. The building is owned by Gary Greco, who purchase it last year for $319,000, according to city records. A Gary Greco, of Newbury, listed as owner of the Starboard Galley restaurant, Newburyport, is on file as having donated $1,000 to Cousins’ reelection campaigns since 2006.
City councilors say Haverhill receives more than its share of undesirable projects.
“At some point the burden has to be spread around to different communities. We really are profoundly living up to our share. Some of these things have to exist in our society, but one community can’t absorb it all,” Council Vice President Melinda E. Barrett told WHAV this week.
Coppinger said he spoke with Fiorentini and Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro Monday afternoon in telephone conversations. He said he also traded voice and emails with Councilor Andy Vargas on the topic.
WHAV was unsuccessful by deadline in reaching Barbara Maher, chief financial officer and spokesperson for Cousins.
Sheriff-Elect Busy with Deadly Shooting of Lynn Suspect
Coppinger was awakened early this morning when he received reports one of his Lynn police officers had shot an armed robbery suspect at 3:47 a.m. He said the suspect allegedly displayed a handgun, violently scuffled with an employee of a Gulf gasoline station near the Lynnway and Commercial street and left with undetermined amount of money. Based on a description of the suspect, Lynn officers confronted the man on the Lynnway, Coppinger said.
“He had his hands hidden in his pockets. They ordered him to show his hands and he refused, but kept advancing on the officers. The officers backed up to give him more room. After continuing to advance the officer shot him,” Coppinger said. The man was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he dies two hours later, he said.
Following established protocols, Coppinger said, all further comments will come from Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office.