Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson is speaking for the city and saying ‘enough.’ In the wake of a dozen shootings and stabbings over the last nine months—two of them fatal—Michitson, along with Councilor Michael S. McGonagle, has requested Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro update residents on the efforts to curb gang-related violence. On Tuesday night, DeNaro plans to do just that.
On Friday, Michitson told his constituents he has “serious concern” for the safety of Haverhill at large after a spate of what he calls “senseless violence.”
“This should not be the new normal,” Mitchitson said. “It is a serious concern that warrants our full attention. As a community, we need to come together to ensure the safety of all Haverhill citizens.”
As WHAV previously reported, Haverhill men Jeffrey Larkin and Nike Colon were gunned down 11 days apart in May 2018, with Colon’s murder triggering what police called an all-out “gang war” in the city. At least one of the subsequent shootings—on Fifth Avenue in June 2018—was seen as retaliatory strike against those close to Eddy Almonte, Colon’s alleged killer.
Several incidents of violence in recent months have not injured residents, but instead put them on high alert after homes on North, Marshall and Rockland Streets were shot at. One property on Lowell Avenue—the last known address of Elijah Oliver, a “ranking” gang member, according to police—was both shot at and firebombed.
All victims of recent crimes, with the exception of Larkin and Colon, survived.
Victims in three of the shootings are getting closer to justice, with their alleged shooters’ cases being heard in Superior Court. Brothers Gilbert Vasquez and Jose Vasquez Jr., charged with armed assault to murder after a July double stabbing in Lafayette Square, had their case dismissed by the District Attorney’s office when witnesses refused to cooperate. Three other shooting cases remain unsolved.