Only FIVE Patrolman protecting the city on a Thursday Night


Lawrence Police Lt. James Raso, Sgt. P.J. Lopez
Lawrence Police Sgt. James Raso and PJ Lopez remove taser wires from
criminal, Louis Leonard of Bunkerhill St. Leonard fled police with a 9MM
Rugar in his hand and was caught eight blocks later. Only five patrolman
were working the streets of Lawrence the night of this incident.

Lawrence Cops chase man with

gun through Lawrence alleys



By; Tom Duggan – August, 2010

“Common and Newbury, Common and Newbury!” an out of breath officer Dan Fitzpatrick yelled over the police radio early Friday morning around 12:15am.

Every cruiser patrolling the city rushed to the downtown Lawrence neighborhood, lights and sirens blaring.

“Every available car head that way,” the dispatcher said. “He’s in the alley, he’s in the alley…. headed….. North,” another officer yelled into the radio.

Lawrence Police had received a call of three men trying to break into cars at Museum Square on Methuen Street. Witnesses say that when Officer Fitzpatrick pulled up to the scene, he saw one of the men had a gun tucked in his waistband. Fitzpatrick ordered the suspect to stop, but instead he bolted towards Essex Street, initiating the chase by both Fitzpatrick and Sgt. Raso.

“I’m on him… Newbury Street in the alley… Newbury Street!” a hurried Officer Fitzpatrick broadcasted, while chasing the suspect on foot.


The 9MM Rugar recovered on Garden Street after the fleeing criminal threw it to the ground during a foot chase by Lawrence police.

Other officers scoured the area cordoned off the neighborhood in every direction as five other police cruisers descended onto the Newbury and Garden Street area, the radio went quiet for less than a minute. Then static interrupted the transmission but when it stopped the only word that came over the radio was “…gun!” Seconds later, Sgt Raso returned to the radio “he threw it on the ground…” trying to catch his breath he alerted his fellow officers, “I got him! Newbury and Garden!”

When our Valley Patriot reporter arrived at the scene on Garden Street, three officers were inspecting a 9 millimeter Rugar pistol that the criminal had thrown on the ground while being tased by Sgt. Raso.

“He could’ve shot me, he could have killed me,” Sgt. Raso told Office Fitzpatrick and other officers who began arriving on the scene.

Officers placed the man in handcuffs and brought him over to Fitzpatrick’s cruiser in front of 151 Garden Street.

As Raso began to remove the taser wires from the criminal, one of the officers asked him if he was ok and if it hurt.

“Just a little, not really” the suspect answered with sweat dripping off his forehead.

“He could have turned around at any point and shot me, look at this thing… the clip is full,” Raso told his fellow officers as he inspected the Rugar for ammunition. Another officer, PJ Lopez congratulated them for capturing the suspect.

The suspect was taken to the Lawrence Police Station on Lowell Street and booked. Sources at Lawrence District Court this morning said that the suspect eventually did identify himself to police during the booking process as Louis Leonard, 23, of 92 Bunkerhill Street in Lawrence.

Leonard was arraigned at 10am Friday morning. The judge ordered that he be held on $10,000 cash bail. Leonard had two prior arrests for violent crimes including assault and battery.

Lawrence Police have been working short handed since Mayor William Lantigua laid off 25 officers and demoted fifteen police officials last month. There were FIVE police officers patrolling the streets of Lawrence Thursday on the early night shift. Officers unconnected to the case (who did not want to be identified) said this morning at Lawrence District Court that because of short staffing they are now constantly worried about their safety and the safety of their fellow officers.

“We have seen a significant increase in violence since the layoffs and we’re now chasing call after call, back to back, sometimes leaving sections of the city completely unprotected. Those of us left are doing our part, but it’s getting hairy out here, especially since the summer isn’t even half over. ”

The City of Lawrence has more than 80,000 residents.

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