LOWELL -- The State Police Violent Fugitive Unit moved in on 106 Shawmut St. in Chelsea Tuesday afternoon looking for double-murder suspect Dara Poum, but police said Poum didn't give up easily.

Poum, 28, of Chelsea, who now faces two counts of murder and other charges in the Aug. 10 shooting deaths of brothers Keith and Joseph Callahan, fled when confronted by police, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Chelsea police say Poum climbed onto the roof of a one-story building while fleeing. Poum was arrested after a roughly 40-minute search that included multiple dogs and the state police airwing, according to Chelsea police Capt.

District Attorney Marian Ryan announces an arrest in the slayings of Lowell’s Callahan brothers outside Lowell police headquarters Wednesday. With
District Attorney Marian Ryan announces an arrest in the slayings of Lowell's Callahan brothers outside Lowell police headquarters Wednesday. With her are State Police Detective Lt. Tom Sullivan, left, and Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor, right. Officers James Matos and Christian Hanson stand behind them. SUN/Robert Mills

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Keith Houghton. He was spotted on a porch by state troopers, and arrested following a brief struggle about 5 p.m., Houghton said.

Poum was remanded to Lowell police, where he was held overnight until he was arraigned Wednesday in Lowell District Court on a pair of arrest warrants unrelated to the killings.

Assistant District Attorney Sean Griffith described Poum as having a "lengthy and violent" criminal record that includes robbery, conspiracy and breaking and entering.

Poum was arraigned as a fugitive from justice because Rhode Island officials want him returned to face a probation violation on a 2005 case where he was sentenced to 15 years in state prison with seven years to serve for a drive-by shooting.


Advertisement

He was also arraigned on a default warrant, because he failed to appear for trial in connection with a Sept. 3, 2012, arrest in Lowell where he was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for allegedly attacking a stranger with a metal pipe outside a city convenience store.

Three months later, in 2012, Poum was arrested again by Lowell police for driving without a license and giving a false name to police. Poum also has a pending charge in Chelsea for assault and battery on a police officer, Griffith said.

Lowell District Court Judge Barbara Pearson ordered Poum held without bail on a fugitive from justice charge, and ordered him held on $25,000 cash bail in connection with the Lowell assault case from 2012.

In court, Poum stayed on the steps to the downstairs lockup -- out of public view -- at the prosecution's request due to identification issues involved in the homicide.

Ryan said Poum will soon be arraigned in Lowell District Court on two counts of murder, and one count each of armed burglary, assault with a dangerous weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with the Callahan slayings.

Keith Callahan, 35, and Joseph Callahan, 29, were both shot to death inside their apartment at 105 Andrews St.

State Police Airwing conducts a search for Dara Poum over Chelsea on Wednesday.
State Police Airwing conducts a search for Dara Poum over Chelsea on Wednesday. (COURTESY ED BAUR)
, Lowell, in the early morning hours of Aug. 10. They are sons of retired Lowell police Sgt. Richard Callahan.

Ryan said the events of Aug. 10 began when Poum entered the Callahans' apartment about 2 a.m.

"The defendant entered the brothers' apartment and confronted one of them, demanding to see a person who was not in the apartment," Ryan said. "The defendant allegedly had a gun, and during a physical struggle with the brothers over that gun, they were both shot."

The Sun, quoting sources close to the investigation, previously reported investigators believe the killings were a case of mistaken identity, but Ryan was unwilling to confirm that.

Ryan said only that police have no evidence Poum knew the brothers, who had lived in the apartment on Andrews Street for about a year. Ryan said Poum had friends or family living nearby on Andrews Street.

Ryan said a sketch released by police was "critical" to the investigation.

"This defendant was identified as a possible suspect from the dissemination of that sketch," Ryan said.

Ryan said crime scene investigators found a partially-smoked cigarette discarded at the scene of the crime, and that DNA from that cigarette was entered into national databases by the Massachusetts State Police Crime Lab.

She said the Rhode Island State Police Crime Lab helped investigators match that DNA to Poum.

Police Superintendent William Taylor said he notified the Callahan family prior to Wednesday's press conference announcing the arrests. 

"I spoke to the Callahan family today, and in some measure this provides some comfort to them to know the person responsible for their sons' deaths has been charged," Taylor said.

Describing the killings as a "vicious and violent act," Taylor said the arrests should also bring some comfort to the city and community in general.

Callahan's family has requested privacy as they grieve.

Taylor said the family was pleased by the arrest, but that it still doesn't bring their sons back.

Friends have described both brothers as hard-working, but fun loving men who cared deeply about their families. The brothers had five children between them, and a benefit fund has been established to help those children.

To contribute to that fund, visit www.GoFundMe.com/cty1v4.

Follow Robert Mills on Twitter and Tout @Robert_Mills

Follow Lisa Redmond on Tout and Twitter@lredmond13_lisa.