Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


June 20, 2013

SWAT called in for pitchfork attack

Judge orders evaluation of resident

A full SWAT response was needed to apprehend a man who lashed out at three visitors with a lead pipe and pitchfork near South Elementary School last Friday, June 14, according to police.

Thomas Croteau, 54, of 67 Woburn St., is being held without bail after his arraignment Monday in Lawrence District Court on three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and two individual counts of assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. A plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf, according to District Attorney spokeswoman Carrie Kimball-Monahan.

Croteau was ordered committed to Bridgewater State Hospital for 30 days for a psychiatric evaluation. His case is scheduled for a status review on July 16.

Police were called to Croteau’s home at around 3:30 p.m. Friday after two behavioral health crisis workers, escorted by a family member of Croteau’s, attempted to visit his home to evaluate him, according to an Andover Police report written by Patrolman Robin Cataldo.

When the two workers entered the home with the family member, Croteau “came down the stairs swinging a pipe at the workers,” at which point the relative “disarmed Thomas and pushed him away,” according to the report.

“Then Thomas began throwing glass bowls at (his relative), hitting him in the head,” the report states.

The workers and Croteau’s relative then ran out of the home, at which point he “began chasing them with a pitchfork,” according to the report. The three fled the scene and called police.

After police arrived, they surrounded the home and attempted to get Croteau to come out. After several failed attempts, Andover Police Sgt. Mark Higginbottom requested the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council send in a SWAT team to apprehend Croteau, according to the report.

“He refused to speak with us or even come out of the house,” Andover Police Lt. Edward Guy said. “Because of that, we have to take all precautions, so we ended up calling in (the SWAT team).”

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