Two men suffered serious injuries from a shooting at Shawsheen Plaza, 209 North Main Street, in downtown Andover last Thursday, according to a press release by the Andover Police Department (A.P.D.).
As of Monday morning, there were still no definitive suspects in the investigation; however, the police said that this was not a random act of violence, but instead a targeted incident.
“Our detectives are working diligently on this incident and are working on some leads in this case. I cannot speak on any particular suspects, but we have some leads we are looking into,” wrote Lieutenant Edward Guy, a first responder at the crime scene, in an email to The Phillipian.
“The safety and security of our citizens is of utmost importance and the Andover Police Department is committed to investigating and prosecuting those involved with this brazen act to the fullest extent of the law,” he continued.
The police began their investigation of the incident after a woman placed a 911 call at 10:22 p.m., “reporting that her son was shot and en route to the hospital,” according to police logs.
The victims then made their way to a duplex across the street, where a friend drove them to the hospital.
The Lawrence General Hospital later notified the A.P.D. that the men, both Andover residents and in their 20s, had arrived with gunshot wounds, according a press release from the A.P.D.
Four officers responded to the scene of the incident, which was about 1.3 miles away from Andover’s main campus. Two detectives were also dispatched to interview the victims at the hospital.
In an update, the A.P.D. said that police investigators have yet to disclose the names of the two victims, who were released from the hospital on Friday afternoon.
“We do not believe that there is any danger to the community at large,” said Andover Police Chief Patrick Keefe in an official statement.
“Right now, this investigation is just beginning, and we greatly appreciate everyone’s patience while the victims are tended to, and we work to determine who is responsible for this act of violence in our community,” said Chief Keefe.
Shawsheen Plaza is home to numerous stores and restaurants, including Stop & Shop, Raagini Indian Bistro, and Planet Fitness.
Although most businesses were closing or closed at the time of the shooting, Debbie McNiff, a manager at Grassfields Steak & Seafood, said that local businesses were notified of the incident by the A.P.D.
“[The police] told us about keeping the back door locked and that there was an incident across the street…They [asked us for surveillance footage], but we don’t have surveillance headed toward that part of the building,” said McNiff in an interview with The Phillipian.
Demetri Photis, a worker at the Shawsheen Plaza Sunoco across the street from the duplex, had closed his shop before the shooting occurred and heard about the incident the next morning.
“I believe there were still police officers on the scene [the morning after] investigating and locking the place down,” said Photis.
Photis also said that there had been recent instances of crime in the area. In June, the same Sunoco station was robbed by a man with a knife, according to a report by “The Eagle Tribune.”
Despite recent incidents at Andover or near Shawsheen Plaza, the town has experienced an overall decrease in crimes since 2010.
“Violent crime is very rare in Andover. We have not seen an increase in violent crime and specifically the North Main Street area,” said Guy.
John Moreland ’18, a day student who lives in Andover said, in an interview with The Phillipian, “[The shooting] is unbelievably surprising because I’ve grown up here my entire life and traditionally nothing really goes wrong in Andover. It’s this cute little town, [it’s] safe, and there are no cares as to what might ever happen. I’ve never felt unsafe walking down the street, so that’s really surprising,” said Moreland.