Haverhill Car Crash Investigation Leads Police to Alleged Shooter of Two West Lowell Avenue Homes

(Jay Saulnier file photograph for WHAV News.)

A 20-year-old Haverhill man, originally arrested for carrying an unlicensed firearm and drug charges after a car accident early Friday morning, is now charged with shooting at two homes on West Lowell Avenue.

Joseph S. Sweeny, 240 Crystal St., Haverhill, was arraigned Tuesday in Haverhill District Court and ordered held pending a dangerousness hearing after additional charges were brought for assault and battery with a firearm, four counts, and malicious destruction of property, two counts. Arraigned at the same time was 22-year-old Daniel P. Doherty, of Methuen, on firearm, drug, alcohol and motor vehicle charges. Doherty was released with GPS monitoring. Both men face another hearing July 22.

According to a police report, Doherty said, “Sweeney was just being stupid and shot the gun out of the window” of Doherty’s car where he was a passenger. Asked by police how many times Sweeny fired the weapon, Doherty responded, “enough to piss me off.”

A report by Officer Ryan Barbera says Haverhill Police were originally dispatched to the scene of a crash involving a car driven by Doherty and a utility pole on Crystal Street. Police discovered Sweeny bleeding from the forehead. Frisked outside the car after he tried to reach for a black duffel bag, police said, Sweeny was found with two bullets and one casing from discharged ammunition. Inside the bag, police also found a 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber, a powdery substance believed to be fentanyl, marijuana, pills, $3,200 in cash and other objects. In another bag under the driver’s seat, police found, a round of .380 caliber ammunition and one spent round and other drug-related material. Sweeny was arrested, but first taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.

Both men were charged with possession of a firearm without a license, carrying unlicensed ammunition, several counts of possession of drugs with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate drug laws.

Meanwhile, Officer Cory Baldera stayed with Doherty who was additionally charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and having an open container of alcohol.

In his report, Barbera notes the presence of a pistol and 9 mm and .380 rounds and a report from just after 1:30 that morning of shots fired at two West Lowell Avenue homes.

According to a resident of one of the homes struck, seven shots were heard. Police later found a spent Winchester .380 auto shell casing on the street. At the other home, police said a couple reported being awakened by a loud noise, but didn’t discover a bullet hole near a bedroom window until morning. A shell casing was found under an electric heater near the couple’s bed. Other neighbors also reported either hearing gun shots, fireworks or a car backfiring. Other shells were found in the street.

Police shut down West Lowell Avenue from Lake Street to Bradley Avenue to investigate. Detective Kyle McCann noted in his report shell casings on the street were on the right side, suggesting they were fired by a car’s passenger.

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