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In the 21 years Bud Caulfield has served on the City Council, he's been called a lot of things -- some good, some bad.
"Crime fighter" isn't one of them. Yet the 70-year-old mayor confronted three assailants in the parking lot of a Highlands apartment building yesterday as they beat and robbed a woman in what police said was a drug deal gone bad.
Caulfield deflected credit, however, insisting that he stopped to assist in what he thought was a medical emergency.
Caulfield was driving on Pine Street, near the intersection with Robbins Street, at about noon yesterday when a van in front of him slowed down without warning.
It soon became obvious to Caulfield why the van slowed. He looked to his left and noticed a woman lying on her back.
Caulfield thought the woman was being helped by the others, but after stopping realized the woman was being assaulted. Another woman was on top of her, beating her, as another woman and one man tried to pry something from one of her hands.
Caulfield stopped his car in the middle of Pine Street. He jumped out and confronted the assailants.
"I told them they have to stop," said Caulfield, who was soon joined by Beau Jaynes, a city DPW employee and well-known Golden Gloves boxer, who happened to be nearby.
The beating stopped as the three suspects sped from the scene in a van -- but not before Caulfield got the license-plate number and handed it over to police.
Caulfield, first elected to the City Council in 1987, downplayed his involvement.
"Please, do not make a big thing of this," he said. "I'm just an average guy and anyone else in my position would have done the same. Instead, recognition should go to the police, who responded very quickly and went about their jobs with the utmost professionalism."
The police, however, were complimentary of Caulfield's actions.
"Certainly, the mayor went above and beyond," said police Capt. Randall Humphrey. "I wouldn't advise that for anyone who isn't armed and doesn't have the proper training. Fortunately, no one got hurt."
The van was spotted and stopped by police a few blocks away. One of the suspects, Eric Normandin, 23, of Lowell, was arrested on unrelated warrants.
The alleged victim hasn't been located by police. Humphrey said it's unlikely she'll pursue charges given the circumstances of the case. Police can't file charges unless they witness the assault.
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