Officer Assaulted, Man Barricaded in Apartment
At 11:43 AM Beverly Police officers Michael Henebury and Jeff Liacos responded to 399 Essex St to check on the well being of Michael Gallagher. Officers met with personnel from Elliot Community Human Services (ECHS) who were trying to get Gallagher to go to the hospital for necessary medical treatment. Gallagher, 65 years old and 6’4” 325 lbs., had been working with ECHS but this morning had sent an email to his social worker terminating services. In the email Gallagher stated he would no longer receive visits or phone calls from ECHS and advised them not to involve the police as “any attempt by police to enter my apartment will be met with deadly force.”
Officers Henebury and Liacos went with ECHS staff to Gallagher’s apartment and knocked on the door. Officers were able to speak to Gallagher through the door, asking him to cooperate and get the medical help he needed, but he refused to open the door and told officers they were wasting their time. He continued to yell obscenities through the door, using a hostile tone throughout the encounter and making threats to kill anyone who walked through the door. With the assistance of building maintenance personnel, officers opened the apartment door using a key. With the door now open, officers observed Gallagher steps from the doorway holding a larger butcher knife above his head. Officers drew their firearms and ordered Gallagher to drop the knife. Gallagher refused and instead started toward them in a threatening manner, holding the knife in the air. Once at the doorway, Gallagher slammed the door closed and locked it. Officers Henebury and Liacos immediately called for additional officers and continued to speak with Gallagher through the door until he finally went quiet and refused to speak at all. Concerned about Gallagher’s safety and the safety of the public in general, the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) SWAT Team was requested to assist with the situation.
The NEMLEC Swat Team and negotiators arrived on scene quickly and again tried to appeal to Gallagher to open the door. Negotiators tried to speak to Gallagher through the door and by phone but got no answer. SWAT officers were able to place a camera under the door to see that Gallagher was sitting in a chair placed against the door and waited for him to move away so they could safely enter. The Beverly Fire Department also assisted the NEMLEC SWAT Team by placing a ladder up to Gallagher’s apartment window in case that entry point was needed.
At approximately 2:00 PM SWAT officers observed Gallagher get up from the chair and walk across the apartment toward the window. At this point the NEMLEC SWAT Team breached the apartment and observed Gallagher standing approximately 12 feet away, again holding the large butcher knife in the air. Officers yelled several times for him to drop the knife, but he refused and once again came at officers in a threatening manner. At that point officers used a taser to subdue him and he was taken into custody.
Once Gallagher was in custody and the scene was deemed safe, medical personnel from Northeast Regional Ambulance entered the apartment and Gallagher was ultimately transported to Beverly Hospital for treatment. Thanks to an efficient and effective response from NEMLEC, officers were able to get Gallagher the medical attention he needed, without injuring him and while keeping everyone else around him safe. Gallagher will be charged with assault by means of a dangerous weapon (knife).