LOWELL -- A Dracut police dog and the Massachusetts State Police Airwing were called in to help Lowell police search for a suspect who ditched a gun while fleeing on foot from an otherwise routine motor-vehicle stop Saturday night.

Officers Charles Pappaconstantinou and Rafael Rivera had stopped a sport utility vehicle on Watson Street, just off Lawrence Street, in the city's Back Central neighborhood, when the male passenger suddenly took off running on foot about 11:15 p.m.

Rivera gave chase while Pappaconstantinou remained with the vehicle and its driver. Pappaconstantinou said in urgent police radio broadcasts that the suspect who fled was holding his hand to his waist as if he may have a firearm, and moments later the suspect dropped a firearm while fleeing.

Police recovered the gun, but soon lost sight of the suspect, who remained at large as of 12:15 a.m.

A canine from Dracut police attempted to track the suspect, and the state police airwing also joined the search to no avail.

The suspect was described as a light-skinned Hispanic male wearing a dark-colored shirt and jeans.

The driver of the SUV was arrested on a count of operating after suspension. He was still being booked at midnight, and his identity was not immediately available.


Police were busy pursuing numerous reports of fireworks, so a commanding officer was not immediately available to provide further details.

Anyone with information is asked to call Lowell police at 978-937-3200 or Crimestoppers at 978-459-TIPS (8477).

Tipsters can remain anonymous, but can receive up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest.

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