, Salem, MA

January 8, 2013

Marine accused of rampage in his apartment


---- — DANVERS — A man described in court papers as a decorated Marine suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder was arrested yesterday morning after getting into a violent struggle with his father, police said.

Matthew Fairbanks, 23, who had been living at 180 Newbury St., Danvers, an apartment complex, but who also owns a home on Plum Island in Newbury, pleaded not guilty during his arraignment yesterday afternoon to charges of assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of improper storage of a firearm, and malicious destruction of property.

Salem District Court Judge Robert Brennan released Fairbanks on his own recognizance, with conditions that include a mental health evaluation and that he surrender his firearms and firearms license.

Danvers police were called to the Route 1 apartment complex shortly after 6 a.m. for a report of a man screaming threats.

As they arrived in the lobby of Building Six, they were met by Fairbanks’ father, who was holding his head, and by another tenant in the building, who had water flooding into her apartment from Fairbanks’ apartment upstairs.

Fairbanks had allegedly ripped a toilet from the wall in the bathroom during an altercation with his father, who was visiting him.

“I had to get out of there, he’s crazy,” the father, 52, told police. Then, the father’s girlfriend, 65, joined him, telling the police “The kid needs some help,” explaining that he’s an active-duty Marine suffering from PTSD.

Fairbanks and his father had spent part of Sunday night at Applebee’s. Fairbanks’ father told police that his son, who has a pregnant wife, was “messing around” with a waitress there.

Fairbanks, his father, his father’s girlfriend and the waitress ended up at the apartment, where things apparently were calm throughout the evening until both men went into the bathroom and a fight erupted, police said.

The older man wound up being shoved into a bathtub, where Fairbanks then bounced his father’s head off the broken toilet, according to police.

Fairbanks, who at the time of his arrest held a Class A firearms license issued by the town of Newbury, had several weapons in the apartment, including a Colt .45 pistol, a rifle scope and “sniper stand,” as well as a collapsible baton and a Marine-issued Ka-Bar knife.

However, he also had a rifle in his trunk and a .38-caliber handgun in the center console of his car, which led to the charge of improper storage of firearms, police said.

Fairbanks is due back in court Feb. 15.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.