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Police charge man with violent history with firearms offenses

·3 min read

Jan. 21—HAVERHILL — Police said they charged a man who has a violent criminal history with various firearms offenses after he allegedly fired a gun near his Pentucket Street apartment. Police said they searched his apartment and found a stolen gun. The man did not have a license to possess a gun or ammunition, police said.

Earl O'Neal, 42, of 12 Pentucket St., was charged with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building; carrying a loaded firearm without a license; improper storage of a firearm; possession of ammunition without a license, and receiving stolen property (a gun).

Police said O'Neal, a Boston native, has an extensive and violent criminal history that includes assault and battery, threats, firearm offenses, home invasion, kidnapping and armed robbery.

Police said that in 2007 O'Neal was found guilty of possession of a firearm out of Dorchester District Court and was also found guilty of possession of a firearm with a defaced serial number that same year, also out of Dorchester District Court.

O'Neal was arraigned on the new firearms charges Tuesday, Jan. 18, in Haverhill District Court, where Judge Cesar Archilla set cash bail at $25,000.

O'Neal's girlfriend, Vimbai Bush, 48, of Dorchester, was charged with possession of a large capacity feeding device and possession of ammunition without an FID card.

Archilla set bail on Bush at $10,000 cash and scheduled probable cause hearings (via Zoom) for Feb. 18 for both O'Neal and Bush.

According to a police report, at 12:07 a.m. Monday, Jan. 17, police were dispatched to 11 Pentucket St. for shots fired.

Several neighbors told police they heard three gunshots that originated at the intersection of Pentucket and Vine streets. A witness saw two people run inside 12 Pentucket St., the report said.

Officers proceeded to that address and overheard arguing inside the home.

Other officers arrived on the scene with guns drawn. O'Neal opened his front door and was immediately pat frisked. Bush was with him and was also frisked.

Police said they handcuffed O'Neal for safety as there had been an incident involving Bush and O'Neal the day before, during which O'Neal behaved aggressively, police said.

As it was cold outside, Bush and O'Neal asked to retrieve warm clothing from inside their apartment.

Police said that after O'Neal retrieved a sweatshirt from his closet, he tossed it onto a couch. Police said they searched the sweatshirt and found a single 9mm round beneath it.

Both O'Neal and Bush were arrested for illegal possession of ammunition.

Police said they searched Bush and in her left front pocket they found a 17 round Smith and Wesson magazine loaded with 10, 9mm rounds.

With a search warrant in hand, police searched O'Neal's apartment and found a black Smith & Wesson handgun, with no magazine attached, under a bed.

Police determined the gun had been reported stolen on Oct. 7, 2021, in Nashua, New Hampshire,

During booking at the police station, police found two oval pills marked 1174 in O'Neal's pocket. O'Neal told police it was penicillin but could not provide them with a prescription.