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Arrest made in Lowell double slaying

LOWELL — Police have arrested a man on charges of fatally shooting two sons of a retired Lowell police sergeant earlier this month, officials said Wednesday.

Dara Poum, 28, whose last known address was in Chelsea, was arrested Tuesday on charges including murder and armed burglary for the Aug. 10 shooting deaths of Keith Callahan, 35, and Joseph Callahan, 29, the office of District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said.

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The victims, who were shot around 2:30 a.m. on Andrews Street, are the sons of retired Lowell police sergeant Richard Callahan.

“This is a horrific crime for any family,” Ryan said during a briefing outside of Lowell police headquarters.

She released few details about the slayings but did say Poum went to the Andrews Street address looking for someone other than the brothers.

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She said it was not clear why Poum was looking for that individual.

Ryan said a cigarette butt left at the crime scene yielded a DNA match to Poum, who was arrested in Chelsea.

She added that “there is no information that this is gang- related.”

Asked if the Callahan brothers were robbed during the attack, Ryan’s spokeswoman said that question remains part of the investigation.

Officials said the DNA on the cigarette butt matched a sample that Poum gave to a criminal database after his involvement in cases in Rhode Island.

According to court records, he pleaded guilty in that state to several charges in August 2006, including felony assault, carrying a pistol without a license, a drive-by shooting, and conspiracy.

He also pleaded no contest to entering a building with felony intent and second-degree robbery, records show.

He received a 15-year sentence with seven years to serve after entering the pleas, according to court records.

Police Superintendent William M. Taylor of Lowell said on Wednesday that he had spoken with the Callahan family earlier in the afternoon. He said the arrest “provides some comfort to them, and they were certainly pleased by the charges this afternoon. But it doesn’t bring their sons back.”

The superintendent also commended the public for aiding the investigation.

“I think this sends a signal that violence is not going to be tolerated in our community,” he said.

Officials said it was not clear when Poum will be arraigned in Lowell District Court. It was not known if he had a lawyer.

A Lowell police officer was parked in a marked cruiser in front of the home of the victims’ parents on Wednesday.

The officer said the family would not be speaking to reporters.

There was no answer Wednesday at the Andrews Street address where the brothers were shot. A makeshift memorial of flowers and stuffed animals was on the chain-link fence and front porch.

Residents on the block of weathered two-family homes had previously told the Globe they believed the shots that killed the brothers may have been fired during a party.

David Carlos, 42, of Lowell, was driving through the neighborhood on Wednesday after hearing news of the arrest. He said that he lived near the Callahans when they were growing up and that both men had young sons.

“Nobody thinks the sons of a retired police sergeant would get murdered in cold blood like that,” he said. “Good guys. They had their children.”

Globe correspondents Jeremy C. Fox and Faiz Siddiqui contri-buted to this report. Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe
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