06/23/2006

Two Mass. teens arrested after standoff; gun turns out to be a toy

M. Elizabeth Roman
Telegram & Gazette

FITCHBURG, Mass. — Two teenagers were arrested Tuesday evening after a tense showdown with more than five police officers with pistols drawn in front of the Main Street post office.

Nathaniel Colon, 17, of 160 High St., Apt. 1, and Eric Rivera, 18, of 156 Mechanic St., were charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor offense. There was also an outstanding warrant out for Mr. Rivera.

Police said Officers Jeffrey Hurley and James McCall were driving down Main Street about 11 p.m. Tuesday toward a domestic complaint when Officer Hurley said he saw one of the teenagers tuck a gun into his waistband as he was riding his bicycle.

The gun was later found to be a plastic toy pistol.

"Officer Hurley ordered them to get down on the ground, and they did not comply," Chief Edward F. Cronin said. "After repeated orders, one did comply, but Mr. Rivera instead pulled the gun out of his waistband and held it out to his side."

When ordered to drop the gun again, Mr. Rivera threw the gun on the sidewalk, Chief Cronin said.

"Then he started laughing about it because he thought it was a big joke," Chief Cronin added. "As a result of the incident, they were placed under arrest."

During the incident, one suspect was handcuffed to a fence in front of the post office. The other was told to lay flat, face-down on the sidewalk, and his hands were cuffed behind his back. Their bicycles, one with a grocery shopping bag tied to the handlebars, were loaded into the back of two police cruisers.

"Officer Hurley said he almost shot the kid," Chief Cronin said. "But, instead he used a lot of experience and restraint in the issue."

Officer Hurley has been on the Police Department for five years.

"That's what being a disorderly person is," Chief Cronin said. "It's acting in a way that makes people afraid or upset to such an extent that it threatens public safety."

He added that it is customary for every available police officer to respond to an incident when a suspect has a gun.  
 
Copyright 2006 Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Inc.
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