Man charged with shooting gun at car

Photo by Mike LaBellaMario Acosta appears in Haverhill District Court Nov. 1.

Police charged a Haverhill man with firing bullets from his moving vehicle into another vehicle he was following on Washington Street in Haverhill. It wasn't the first time he was arrested for firearms offenses.

The sound of multiple gunshots in the middle of the afternoon alarmed a number of residents in that area of the city, who called police to report what they'd heard.

Following an investigation, police charged Mario Acosta, 23, of 193 Hilldale Ave., Apt. 1, with assault with intent to murder, possession of a loaded firearm without a license, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

Acosta was arrested late Friday morning of last week on a warrant, according to police, and was arraigned later that day in Haverhill District Court.

At his arraignment, Acosta required the use of a Spanish interpreter. Acosta was represented by defense lawyer James Carney.

During the hearing before Judge Patricia Dowling, Assistant District Attorney Stephen Lamonica asked that Acosta be held without bail for a dangerousness hearing, which Dowling agreed to and scheduled for Nov. 8.

Dowling also revoked bail on Acosta on a firearms possession case out of Lawrence District Court.

In June 2016, Acosta was arrested following a shooting on Temple Street in the Mount Washington neighborhood along with two other men. Police said at the time that the three men were believed to have ties to gangs in the city and that the men were at Swasey Field on the night of a shooting there in May 2016.

In November 2016, charges against Acosta and two other men were dropped "due to a lack of cooperation of witnesses,'' according to the Essex County district attorney's office.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, following reports of shots fired in the area of 294 Washington St. on Wednesday of last week, police launched an investigation that led them to identify the drivers of the two vehicles.

Police identified Acosta as the driver of a gray, Subaru Tribeca SUV that is owned by his father, and the driver of the other vehicle, a blue Honda Civic, as a High Street woman whose live-in boyfriend has active warrants for his arrest and recently ran from police when encountered.

Police said Acosta is a known Trinitarios gang member who was involved in another shooting in Haverhill, and has numerous gun violations on his record including a charge in Lawrence earlier this year.

Police said that on Thursday of last week, they questioned the woman about a bullet hole in her car's passenger side rear fender and about a spare tire that was on the car that wasn't seen on video surveillance the day of the shooting.

She told police that last Wednesday she picked up her boyfriend in Lawrence and they stopped at the High Street Market so he could buy cigarettes. She said that while still inside her car, they were approached by two men on foot, and that the men held up gang signs and said "we represent Trini's" and asked what gang they represented.

The woman said her boyfriend told the two men that he was "neutral" and was not affiliated with any gang. The woman told police the two men got back into their vehicle then followed her onto Washington Street, then shot at her car approximately three times. She said her tire was flat the next day and that her boyfriend installed the spare.

Police said they retrieved five bullet casings from along Washington Street where the shootings were believed to take place, and also retrieved a projectile from between the woman's damaged tire and rim.

Police said they believe Acosta and his unknown male passenger were "involved in a joint venture to gun down the victims for an unknown reason."


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