Police sergeant arrested during domestic dispute in Beverly

A Manchester-by-the-Sea police sergeant is facing several assault and weapons charges after he was arrested during a domestic dispute late Friday night in Beverly at his home, where police said they found a number of weapons, including 11 rifles and four swords.

John “Jay” Swallow, 54, allegedly fired one shot from a silver Ruger handgun during an altercation with his wife, said Officer David Costa, a spokesman for Beverly police. Swallow was taken into custody outside the Devon Avenue home where he lives, Costa added.

Swallow cooperated with the Beverly officers, telling them “I don’t want to hurt you guys,” according to a police statement.


The victim, whom Costa identified as Swallow’s wife, told police she and Swallow were arguing when he left the room and returned with a gun. He allegedly grabbed her by the shirt and pointed the gun at her before aiming the weapon at the family dog and threatening to shoot it.

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Swallow’s wife allegedly asked him to leave, but he refused. When she then pushed past him and left, police said, a gunshot was heard inside the home. Swallow told officers his gun accidentally discharged when he was walking to put it away, according to Beverly police. “The one bullet that he fired, it went through a door and a wall and ended up in bureau,” Costa said. No one was injured during the incident.

No one with the Manchester Police Department was available to comment Saturday night. A woman who answered the phone at the Devon Avenue home also declined to comment.

After they arrested Swallow, Beverly police said officers found 16 handguns, 11 rifles, eight shotguns, two BB guns, ammunition, and four Samurai swords in his house. They seized all the weapons, along with the sergeant’s license to carry firearms.

Swallow faces charges of assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, witness intimidation, and three counts of firearms security violation.

Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at