Lawrence Massachusetts Auxiliary Officers Praised.Police: Drugs may be cause of killing
By Jill Harmacinski
November 02, 2009 01:33 am
LAWRENCE, MA — A 21-year-old local man was shot to death outside a Broadway convenience store early yesterday in what could be a drug-related murder, police said.
Yamil Garcia was found lying on the ground and bleeding in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven convenience store just before 2 a.m.
People in the area, including auxiliary police Chief Jay Jackson, reported hearing multiple gunshots.
Garcia, of 16 Springfield St., was pronounced dead at Lawrence General Hospital. Police said it appeared he was shot multiple times but an autopsy will be conducted today to determine the cause of death.
Meanwhile, Pablo Acosta, who sped away from the area but was captured by police, remains the "only suspect" although he hasn't been charged in the homicide, according to a police report.
Acosta, 33, of 248 Salem St. in Lawrence, immediately asked for an attorney after he was arrested early yesterday.
At 1:50 a.m., Jackson, who was on patrol near 360 Broadway, radioed that he heard gunshots nearby. He also saw a red van leave the 7-Eleven parking lot at a high rate of speed and head toward West Street. Jackson found Garcia in the parking lot and called for paramedics, according to police reports.
Officer Christopher Bussey heard Jackson's calls as he drove west on Manchester Street. He saw a red minivan turn off West Street and head east on Manchester. After calling for backup, Bussey turned on his blue lights and sirens, and tried to get the minivan to stop, according to his report.
But the driver took off, taking a right turn onto Currant Hill Road and speeding toward the neighboring city of Methuen.
Bussey pursued the minivan, a 2007 Chrysler Pacifica, which eventually crashed into the Immaculate Conception Cemetery. At gunpoint, Bussey ordered the driver, Acosta, out of the vehicle. A .40-caliber black semiautomatic handgun was found in the minivan.
"The firearm recovered is the same caliber as the shell casings recovered in the 7-Eleven parking lot," Detective Sgt. Amanda Burke wrote in a report.
Officers also noted an odor of "burnt gun powder" coming from the van, according to reports.
Officers searching the store parking lot found six shell casings in the area. Jackson and others interviewed by police reported hearing anywhere from three to seven gunshots. Police seized area surveillance tapes to see if the shooting was caught on tape. The area was investigated by local detectives and state police crime scene technicians.
The Pacifica that Acosta was driving was impounded by police and his hands were chemically tested for gunpowder residue, police said.
Acosta was charged with speeding, failure to stop for a police officer and illegal possession of a firearm.
Police said Garcia was carrying $1,757 in cash, a car key, a small bag of marijuana and a cell phone when he was shot. Police do not believe the shooting was a "random crime," although it is still unclear "what transpired between the two," said police Chief John Romero.
Attempts to reach Garcia's family were unsuccessful last night.
Romero praised the work of both auxiliary and full-time police, noting "they did a great job apprehending" Acosta. "We had people in the right places and that enabled us to make the arrest."
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