SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

October 30, 2012

Officer held pending dangerousness hearing

Manchester sergeant Was target of NH abuse investigation

BEVERLY — A Manchester-by-the-Sea police sergeant arrested outside his Beverly home early Saturday, after allegedly firing a gun during a domestic dispute, will remain held without bail pending a hearing today to determine whether his release will pose a danger to his wife or the public, a judge ordered.

John H. “Jay” Swallow, 54, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that include assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, discharging a firearm within a dwelling, and three counts of improper storage of a firearm. He was arraigned in Salem District Court, where details of what triggered the dispute emerged.

Police found numerous guns, as well as four samurai swords, owned by Swallow, as well as a “huge cache” of hundreds of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition in the basement of the Devon Avenue home. The guns in the basement belong to an Ipswich man who is currently deployed in Afghanistan, police said.

Swallow’s wife, who had fled to a neighbor’s home before the gun went off, told police the couple had been arguing on Friday night. As the argument escalated, Swallow allegedly assaulted his wife.

“If you want to treat me like this, I would testify against you,” his wife allegedly told him, referring to an ongoing New Hampshire investigation into allegations that Swallow had indecently assaulted a family member, according to a police report.

According to the police report, Swallow was “enraged” and went to his bedroom, then returned to his wife’s bedroom holding a silver Ruger handgun. Swallow grabbed his wife’s shirt and pointed the gun at her, then at the head of her dog, a dachshund, which he threatened to kill.

His wife told Swallow to leave, but when he refused, she pushed past him and ran outside, according to the police report.

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