SWAT team responds to Newbury home, woman arrested

Mar. 3—NEWBURY — Local police, aided by a regional SWAT team, confiscated about 30 rifles from a Hay Street woman Wednesday afternoon after she repeatedly threatened to shoot police officers.

The woman, Patricia Ross, was arrested about 2:30 pm., shortly after dozens of heavily armed police officers converged upon her home.

Newbury police Chief John Lucey Jr. said Ross called the department several times Wednesday starting at 9 a.m. and threatened violence. She was charged with threatening to commit a crime and firearms offenses after learning she did not have a license to carry any of the weapons.

Ross was initially brought to Newburyport District Court for arraignment but before she set foot in a courtroom, she was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport for evaluation.

It is unknown when Ross will be arraigned or if she will be brought back to the courthouse or remain committed in a hospital, Lucey added.

Lucey said Ross, 63, has had many encounters with local police over the years but the incident Wednesday rose to a new level of dangerousness that prompted police to obtain a warrant for her arrest.

Based on her threats, the warrant was classified as "high risk," leading Lucey to call the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council's SWAT team for assistance.

The team, consisting of specially trained officers from across eastern Massachusetts, used the High Road police parking lot as a stationing area before boarding two armored police vehicles and several other trucks.

Most of them were seen wearing tactical gear and carrying assault-like rifles. Lucey said the NEMLEC team is highly trained in similar situations and was brought in to increase the chances of a safe resolution.

Lucey said activating NEMLEC was done out of "an abundance of caution" but acknowledged the presence of armored vehicles and dozens of heavily armed police officers would cause anxiety among the public.

He stressed that if there was any threat to the public he would have made that clear right away. But in an effort not to tip off Ross, Lucey did not alert the public until all officers were on scene.

Newbury police posted a Facebook message on its Facebook page about 2 p.m.

"Message to the public. We have a police operation taking place in town that poses no danger to public safety. If you wish to receive public safety notifications, please register for our CodeRED notifications. Thank you." the message read.

Ross, Lucey said, did not cooperate with police, but officers were able to arrest her without injuring her or suffering any injuries.

"I couldn't have asked for a better result. Textbook, purely textbook," Lucey said.

During the operation, police closed off the area around her Hay Street home to traffic. An ambulance crew was stationed at the corner of Hay Street and Newman Road. According to the town's online database, Ross lives at 142 Hay Road.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

Dave Rogers is a reporter with the Daily News of Newburyport. Email him at: drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.