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Police Make Arrest in Mysterious Minivan Shoot-Up Incident

How a traffic accident pointed detectives to information about an early morning shooting that had occurred 10 days earlier in the heart of Somerville.

Posted October, 2012

When a police officer responded to a traffic accident on Sept. 9 and noticed that one of the involved cars—a Dodge Caravan—had several bullet holes in it, detectives were able to piece together bits of information that led to the arrest, Friday, of a Somerville man accused of shooting at the minivan's driver.

It all started 10 days before the accident. The following information is from police reports supplied by the Somerville Police Department:

According to the reports, police received a 911 call on Aug. 30 at about 1:30 a.m. from a mysterious caller who said one group was chasing another group around Princeton Street. The caller gave little information, and police weren't able to make further contact.

The next day, a detective received a call from a confidential source who said that Dale Harding, 25, of 6 Myrtle St., had fired a gun at his former girlfriend's car. Later in the day, another detective received a similar call from an informant in the area. The detectives went to the intersection of Lowell and Princeton streets and found what looked like spent 9-millimeter shells.

They spoke to neighbors, and one said that when she took her dog out at around 1:30 a.m., she heard gunshots, saw a man in a gray hoodie run by and then saw a gray minivan driving after the hooded man and circle the block a few times.

Ten days passed, and then on Sept. 9, at around 2:45 p.m., officers responded to a traffic accident at the intersection of Mystic Avenue and Temple Street, and one of the cars in the accident was a gray minivan with several bullet holes in its rear.

The driver of the car said the bullet holes had nothing to do with her. She said they had to do with her former boyfriend, Harding, and her current boyfriend.

From that information, police were able to bring the victim of the alleged Aug. 30 shooting—presumably the current boyfriend—into the police station.

He said that he and his stepbrother were driving the minivan on Aug. 30 at around 1 a.m., and after they arrived on Princeton Street they noticed a Jeep Grand Cherokee speed by them on Alpine Street. The Jeep circled around and sped back down Alpine, the victim told police.

They noticed the man in the Jeep was Harding, the victim said, who added that Harding had threatened him before.

The victim was outside his car at this time, and he heard Harding say, "Oh, that's you," the victim told police.

The victim made a dash for the Dodge Caravan, got in the drivers' seat and reversed the car down Princeton Street to his girlfriend's house. He feared for her safety, the victim told police.

As he was driving he heard around four gunshots and realized Harding was shooting at him, the victim told police. The shooter ran onto Lowell Street and toward Alpine Street and disappeared, he said.

The next day, the victim returned to Princeton and Lowell streets and found two spent 9-millimeter shells, which he put in the ashtray of the Dodge Caravan, he told police.

On Sept. 28, at around 9 a.m., police arrested Harding at 175 Fellsway. He was arrested on warrants for assault to murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and firearms violations.

Please remember that allegations contained in police reports do not indicate a conviction.

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