SALISBURY — A witness who said he watched police shoot and kill a 29-year-old machete-wielding man on Thursday said the suspect refused to put down his weapons and suddenly ran at the officers.
Jay Deyo, 44, of Salem, N.H., was working a construction job on Cable Avenue when he heard a crash and saw that a red four-door sedan had crashed into a black Salisbury police cruiser in front of the house.
“I thought it was a regular accident,” Deyo said.
Then the driver got out of the car and started waving a “big machete” and a knife at the officers, Deyo said.
“The two cops kept begging him to put the knives down,” said Deyo. “One said, ‘Don’t I know you?’ and ‘We can help you.’ ”
Deyo said the man refused to comply with their orders and continued to wave the machete and knife, while muttering phrases like, “Are you going to be my executioner?”
At one point, Deyo said, the police lowered their weapons and tried to calm the man. A third officer appeared with a larger firearm, and the machete-wielding man circled around and appeared to rush toward police, Deyo said. At that point, shots were fired and struck the man, who died in the street.
Neither the victim nor the officers involved were identified by authorities Thursday.
Police arrived at the scene at 12:47 p.m. in response to a 911 call reporting a domestic dispute involving a knife at a home on Cable Avenue. Two people were seriously injured in the incident, although their injuries were not disclosed.
It was not immediately clear who the two injured people were and whether they were related to the man who was killed.
The injured man was airlifted to a Boston hospital, while a woman was being treated at Newburyport’s Anna Jaques Hospital, Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett said in a press conference at the scene. He said their conditions were “very serious.”
As investigators processed the crime scene, Blodgett told reporters. the man deliberately crashed his car into the Salisbury police cruiser. The man came out of the vehicle armed with the knife and machete, and police made multiple attempts to disarm him, including using a Taser, Blodgett said.
Police cordoned off an area on Cable Avenue, and a body could be seen under a white sheet on the ground in the middle of the street.
Cliff Chapman, a resident of nearby Brissette Avenue, said he heard yelling and a crash followed by three or four gunshots. When he went outside, he saw the bloodied body of a man in the street. A machete was lying a few feet away from the body, he said.
“It was pretty gruesome,” Chapman said.Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @emilysweeney.