A Distraction Offered Moment For Action at Wednesday's Standoff

A stopped car gave police an opportunity to arrest a man who had what appeared to be a handgun on him.


A pivotal moment arrived outside the Swampscott police station in Monday's early morning standoff between Swampscott police and resident Florenzo Lecce.  

Police had taken cover after the resident revealed what appeared to be a silver handgun tucked inside his pants' belt.

He was repeatedly tapping the gun.

And police were making sure that pedestrians and traffic on Burrill Street were clear of the scene and out of the way of potential gunfire, prosecutor Andrew Boyd told the judge Wednesday at Lynn District Court.

The pivotal moment arrived when a vehicle stopped in view of the standoff and an officer left a place of safety to get it to move.

This action also proved to be a distraction, capturing the attention of Lecce.

Police had continued to talk to Lecce but they used the distraction as an opportunity to disarm him.

One officer grabbed the man's arms and another took ahold of his legs and they brought him down and tossed the gun away from him, the prosecutor said.

Later, when they retrieved the gun, they found it was not a true firearm, it was a toy gun.

The Swampscott resident involved in the standoff was scheduled to be hospitalized in Worcester after he was ordered held without bail by Judge Ellen Flatley.

Lecce is scheduled to return to the court on Feb. 5, to determine his competency for being arraigned on several charges.

Lecce is charged with disorderly conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon —to wit, a handgun — possession of a knife, and threats to commit a crime.

At an arraignment a judge informs the defendant of the charges in the case and a plea is entered.

On Wednesday a doctor told Judge Flatley that he had concerns about Lecce's competency for arraignment.

The judge left the court room and went downstairs where Lecce was being held and asked him if he wanted to be present while the defense and the prosecution discussed bail for the case.

The man declined and when the proceedings resumed in the court room, again in his absence, the judge ordered him held without bail.

Meanwhile, the prosecution reserved the right to be heard at a future hearing on the defendant's dangerousness and at his arraignment.

The charges in the case originated from actions at the Swampscott Police Station after Lecce walked in at 5 a.m. Wednesday.

After he asked Officer Luck if he was alone, and the officer responded that he was not, Lecce said he needed to speak to officers in the parking lot, police Det. Tim Cassidy said in a press release.

Outside, Officer Luck saw the man looking in parked cruisers in the station's lot, and the officer grabbed a flashlight and went out and asked the man what he was doing.

The officer noticed a silver handgun stuck in the man's pants' belt. And the man was tapping the gun.

Officer Luck drew his weapon and ordered the man to drop his weapon, but he continued to tap the gun.

Officers Kevin Reen, Todd Pierce and Matt MacDonald arrived to the station. They and Lt. Behen took cover and drew their weapons.  

At one point the resident asked the officers what they would do if he pulled out his weapon?

The standoff continued, and was eventually defused when police disarmed the man.


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