A police officer points his assault rifle toward a second floor window as a SWAT team enters 22 Francis St. in Revere on Sunday during a long standoff. (Photo by Scott Eisen)
By Gayla Cawley and Adam Swift
REVERE — Residents described Francis Street, where a standoff lasted several hours Sunday morning, as a quiet neighborhood, not prone to attracting any police activity.
But neighbors like 58-year-old Coleen Pino were surprised to wake up to police surrounding a nearby residence.
The situation began with a report of shots fired inside an apartment at 22 Francis St. at 4:30 a.m. After numerous attempts by police, the occupants refused to answer the door, according to Revere Police Lt. Detective John Goodwin.
“It was like a war zone,” Pino said.
Pino, who lives next door at 26 Francis St., said she woke up to police officers on the bullhorn telling people to come out with their hands up. She said it was startling, describing it as almost like being on a television show, but then realizing that it was reality right outside her window.
She said the SWAT team and police had guns drawn the whole time, pointed at the house. She said a few people came out on their own, but tear gas had to be used to get the last person out. The other residents in the building were evacuated, which she described as the women and children.
Goodwin said Revere and State Police secured the scene, surrounding the building until the North Metro Special Operations Unit arrived. Five people came out voluntarily and one person refused. The Special Operations Unit entered the apartment and removed the non-cooperative person, he added.
David Procopio, a State Police spokesman, said police responded to a report of a possibly armed and barricaded person inside the apartment.
Pino said her apartment was used by the SWAT team at their request. A SWAT member asked permission to use her second-floor kitchen window to be at gun range with the dwelling next door.
She lives at her home with her in-laws and brother and they all had to clear out, barricading themselves in the basement for several hours. She said it felt weird, like they were more desensitized and curious at first, before starting to fear for their safety.
Pino said her in-laws have owned her home for more than 37 years and she’s lived there almost five years. She said the neighborhood is usually nice.
“It’s been nothing but a family-oriented neighborhood,” she said.
By about 8:30 a.m., police started clearing the scene.
The incident is under investigation by the Revere Police Department and a search warrant was executed at the residence during the afternoon. The search yielded no weapons and no arrests were made, Goodwin said.
Further investigation was required because responding officers believed they could smell gunpowder and the occupants’ refusal to come to the door caused concern, but there is no conclusive evidence of a gun being fired, Goodwin said.
Another neighbor, Michael Delsonno, said waking up to the news surprised him, also describing the residential neighborhood as quiet. He woke up to a phone call from the landlord, a police officer in Waltham, who was wondering what was going on. He flipped on the news and saw something about a standoff.
Delsonno, 55, said he’s been a tenant there for almost a year now and nobody’s ever bothered him.
“I was actually pretty shocked,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting anything, but you never know. Things happen in Revere.”