Detective Shoots at Car Fleeing from Heroin Deal, Says Report
The detective opened fire when alleged drug dealers nearly ran him over, a police report indicates.
A Somerville detective discharged his firearm at a "charging" motor vehicle that was speeding toward him in an attempt to flee, according to a Somerville Police Department indecent report.
The incident happened late morning on March 16 around West Somerville's Clarendon Hill Tower's housing complex, according to the report.
The report says detectives were conducting surveillance of the development's Essex Building as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged drug activity in the area. Based on a tip they received, they believed a Somerville resident was planning to conduct a heroin transaction that morning with two men in a Saab, the report says.
At about 11:40 a.m., detectives saw the two men—Ronald Cresta, 32, of Everett and Ian Lewis, 29, of Burlington—arrive at the Clarendon Hill Towers in their Saab, according to the report.
Carl Barnhill, 43, of 23 Windsor Rd., Somerville, then approached the Saab and appeared to make a purchase, the report says.
Detectives believed it was a drug transaction and stopped Barnhill in the vestibule of the Essex Building. The report says he dropped his alleged purchase, believed to be $50 worth of heroin, and tried to grind it into the ground with his foot, but detectives physically restrained and arrested him.
Outside, detectives tried to stop Lewis and Cresta as they drove away, one detective using his car to block their progress and then stepping out of the car, the report says.
According to the report, the Saab came to a brief stop, then went into reverse, then back into forward, swerving and trying to speed past the detective.
Due to "the risk of imminent personal bodily injury," the detective was forced to "discharge his firearm at the defendants charging motor vehicle," the report says.
The Saab kept moving and turned into a parking garage, and detectives followed and ultimately arrested Cresta and Lewis, allegedly seizing $808 in cash from Cresta, according to the report.
Barnhill was charged with resisting arrest, conspiracy to violate drug law and drug possession. Lewis, the alleged driver, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, resting arrest, conspiracy to violate drug law, drug distribution and drug violation near a park. Cresta was charged with resting arrest, conspiracy to violate drug law, drug distribution and drug violation near a park.
Information from incident reports provided by the Somerville Police Department do not indicate a conviction.