Off-duty cop attacked by gang
By Brock Parker/ Journal Staff
Thursday, January 20, 2005
Three members of the Asian Boyz street gang are being held without bail after allegedly busting a Michelob bottle on the head of an off-duty cop at the Good Time Emporium on Saturday.
The three men allegedly knocked down off-duty officer Walter "Top Gun" Collette and began kicking him before a bartender and two police officers could break up the fight at the Sturtevant Street bar.
Police arrested David Oeur, 22, of 312 Stevens St., Lowell, for the beating along with 21-year-old Tung Nguyen, of 53 Queens St., Lowell; and Vicheth So, 25, of 167 Maple St. #2. Police are also seeking a fourth man for the assault, but are not releasing his name yet, said Police Officer Rick Gilberti.
Police records state Oeur, Nguyen and Vicheth are members of the Asian Boyz, a gang of Southeast Asian men known to operate in Lowell, Boston and Malden, according to the Massachusetts Department of Correction Web site. Nguyen and So were recently arrested in Lowell on charges of assault and battery of a police officer in a bar, police said.
Collette is a three-year veteran of the Somerville Police Department who was appointed by former Mayor Dorothy Kelly Gay. He won the "Top Gun" title for best shooter in the department as a rookie cop in 2001. Last October, he helped rescue a family being attacked by a pit bull near Union Square.
"He's at home; he's got minor bruises," Gilberti said of Collette Tuesday. "He's resting up comfortably."
The fight allegedly broke out when Collette "ordered a refreshment" at the pizza bar while someone behind the off-duty cop repeatedly said "Hey, why don't you get out of our way," police records stated.
Collette told Police Sergeant John Vozella that he ignored the comments until he was pushed in the back by multiple people. Collette responded by saying "Back off and stop pushing me, I'm a Somerville Police officer."
So then someone broke a Michelob Light beer bottle on Collette's head, police records stated. At that point, Vozella, who was working a police detail at the sports bar, rushed to the bar area where he saw Oeur, Nguyen and So "punching and kicking officer Collette while he lay helpless on the floor."
Vozella, Police Lieutenant John Jones and a bar manager then pulled all four men off Collette. One of the men got away, but police arrested Oeur, Nguyen and Vicheth on charges of assault and battery of a police officer, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, being disorderly and resisting arrest.
While police were loading the three men in a prisoner wagon outside Good Time, Nguyen and Ouer told police "You don't know who we are. You will find out," police records stated.
All three men were arraigned in Somerville District Court Tuesday, pleaded not guilty and were held without bail, said Melissa Sherman, a spokesman for the Middlesex County District Attorney's office.