A Lawrence man is set to face a judge in Lawrence District Court on Monday following a brazen attack on a woman during a botched abduction attempt in a Methuen Market Basket parking lot on Friday evening.
According to Metheun Police, a witness came to the aid of woman who was in the midst of fighting with Rafael Rosario, 53. Police said Rosario ambushed the woman, shoved her into the car and choked her by the throat as he struggled to force his way into the car.
“Fearing for her life, the victim started screaming for help and beeped the car horn to get someone’s attention,” according to a statement issued by local authorities.
Following the cries for help, Rosario abandoned his assault and fled across Haverhill Street.
“A witness had just pulled into the parking space across from the victim in a pickup truck, saw the commotion, and came to her aid.”
Police said the witness dialed 911, followed Rossari, and found him hiding in a snowbank next to the rear corner of a fence in the backyard on Hobson Street.
While Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon commended “the brave citizen who witnessed this incident and sprang into action to help,” he ultimately advised against pursuing a fleeing suspect, even in the name of good faith or due to an adrenaline-induced vigilante impulse.
“Chasing after a suspect is something that can be extremely dangerous,” Solomon said. “We ask all residents that find themselves in an emergency to call 911 and let our officers take over from there.”
Emergency personnel from the Methuen Fire Department treated the woman on scene, who ultimately declined further medical treatment.
“We are all very glad to hear that the victim in this case was not seriously injured,” Mayor James Jajuga said in a combined statement issued by city officials. “Incidents like this should serve as a reminder for everyone to be mindful of your surroundings, even in a busy parking lot.”
Rosario was charged with assault and battery, attempted kidnapping, attempted carjacking, and strangulation, and is expected to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court on Monday.