MALDEN -- Two police officers who "acted to save their lives" pulled their guns last night and fatally shot a man driving a stolen car who had rammed several police cruisers during a traffic stop, authorities said this afternoon at a press conference.
Mark Dwyer (left) and James Calo appeared today in Malden District Court.
Lauding the first officer on the scene for "good police work" in finding the stolen car, Middlesex District Attorney Gerald T. Leone Jr. described how the traffic stop "turned deadly."
Each of the Malden police officers who used their guns fired one bullet, striking the driver, Alexander S. Nesom, 20, in the leg and grazing his shoulder, Leone said. Police pulled over the white Toyota Camry at 7:20 p.m. on Salem Street after a random license plate check revealed that the car had been stolen in Brockton. The first officer on the scene pulled Mark Dwyer, 24, out of the front passenger seat and onto the sidewalk when Nesom tried to escape. [To read a copy of Dwyer's arrest report, click here.]
"The car was rammed into reverse and at a high rate of speed slammed into the arresting police officer's cruiser, which was behind the suspect's motor vehicle," Leone said. The collision knocked the officer to the ground and allowed Dwyer to run away.
At that moment, two more Malden police cruisers arrived on the scene and blocked the path of the stolen car. Nesom slammed his car into drive and hit the Malden police cruiser in front of him, Leone said, and struck a second Malden police officer. To avoid being hit, a third officer jumped onto the hood of a police cruiser.
"It was at this time that those two officers -- the one that had been hit on the driver's side of the suspect's vehicle and the officer that had been sent leaping on the hood of the cruiser -- both opened fire," Leone said. "There were two shots fired. One of those struck the suspect in the leg. One of those grazed the suspect in the shoulder. The suspect died this morning of injuries."
Nesom lived in East Sandwich. Authorities did not release the names of the police officers who fired their weapons. The officers "were pretty dinged up" and were treated and released last night at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, said Malden Police Chief Kenneth Coye.
"Our officers were involved in a very difficult event here," Coye said at the press conference, adding, "Things happened very fast here and I believe they acted to save their lives."
Coye described the officers as "highly decorated" veterans of the force.
Police captured Dwyer early this morning after a massive search. A patrolman found him walking on Eastern Avenue in Malden wearing tan shorts smeared with blood, according to a police report filed today in court. Police were able to identify him quickly because he had the name "Dwyer" tattooed on his forearm, according to the report.
Police arrested a passenger in the backseat of the Camry at the scene last night and identified him as James Calo, 29, of Malden. Calo allegedly had four bags of heroin and needles in his possession when police took him into custody, prosecutors said. [To read a copy of Calo 's arrest report, click here.]
Dwyer and Calo appeared today in Malden District Court and pleaded not guilty to possession of a stolen motor vehicle. Attorneys for both men said that their clients did not know the Camry had been stolen. Calo also pleaded not guilty to possession of a class A substance and was ordered held on $2,500 bail. Dwyer was held on $500 bail.
The shooting remains under investigation by the State Police.