Methuen Police Arrest Man for Breaking Into School, Allegedly Assaulting Officers

Ernst Dorante Jr. is accused of breaking and entering into Methuen’s regional CREST Merrimack Academy and allegedly assaulting three police officers. (File photograph)

A 27-year-old Methuen man was arrested and charged with breaking and entering after police found him trespassing on the grounds of the regional CREST Merrimack Academy on 476 Broadway around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Responding to a tripped building alarm, police found Ernst Dorante Jr. at the rear door to the school and gave chase with the aid of a Salem, N.H., K-9 unit once Dorante fled from officers and up a flight of stairs. He was later apprehended while hiding on the school’s second floor and arrested without incident, police said.

A loaded Airsoft pistol was recovered from Dorante’s waistband during his arrest. During the booking process, Dorante was “extremely combative” and allegedly struck three officers, Chief Joseph E. Solomon said.

Methuen Mayor James P. Jajuga applauded the efforts of his city’s force and those departments who offered mutual aid to bring Dorante into custody. “Police officers take extraordinary risks every day, and this is just another example of how properly trained, professional police officers can work to resolve a potentially dangerous situation,” he said.

Dorante was arraigned on all charges, including resisting arrest, at Lawrence District Court.