Methuen Man Involved in Haverhill Shooting Denies Gang Affiliation as Victim Recovers From Broken Jaw

Edison Manzueta appeared in Haverhill District Court on Oct. 22, 2019. (WHAV News photograph)

A Methuen man police say allegedly recruited a 16-year-old Haverhill teen to serve as the gunman during an Oct. 13 shooting in Haverhill’s Mount Washington neighborhood denied gang ties in court Wednesday, as a judge declared him a danger to the community at large.

Twenty-year-old Edison Manzueta shook his head vigorously in the negative as Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo told Haverhill District Court Judge Patricia Dowling how Manzueta’s social media accounts allegedly included photos of him making “gang signs.” And while Manzueta may not have been the one to actually fire the 45-caliber bullet that entered a 21-year-old Lawrence man’s jaw and shattered it in three places, but is just as culpable, DePaulo said.

“The police detectives tell me that the older people, gang members—the ones that are 19 or 20 like he is—are putting the gun into the hands of the juvenile knowing not much happens to the juveniles in juvenile court,” he said.

A handcuffed Manzueta couldn’t help but speak up for himself—out of turn in open court as his mother and aunts looked on—to tell the judge “I’m not a gang member.”

As WHAV previously reported, the man whose injuries DePaulo described as “horrific” was driven to a local hospital by his girlfriend after being struck by a single bullet sitting in a parked car on Ashworth Terrace and Freeman Street shortly after 6 p.m. The woman told police the man was there to sell drugs to someone he met on Snapchat with the street name “Beetlejuice.” Police say that person was Manzueta, whom they identified through his Facebook page, which according to a police report by lead Det. Kyle McCann, contains “multiple gang-related posts and pictures of him throwing gang signs.”

Manzueta’s court-appointed attorney Timothy Connors said his client, who has a 10th grade education and a “non-assaultive record,” was unaware of the juvenile’s intentions on the night of the shooting. Connors also denied all gang affiliation on the part of his client.

“I know my client spoke out of turn, but he denies any gang affiliation, despite what may have been posted on his Facebook account,” Connors said. “I know the Commonwealth’s position, but that’s presumptive. My client denies having the gun, possessing and firing the gun and was unaware of the juvenile’s intention.”

In court Wednesday, it was revealed that the juvenile facing the same assault to murder charge as Manzueta was committed to the Department of Youth Services five times previously and at the time of the shooting, was wearing a GPS ankle monitor with an 8 p.m. curfew.

Manuzeta remains held without bail until his next court hearing in mid-November.

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