"(We) tried to head things off before it got to the point where it did yesterday (Sunday), unfortunately," Howard said yesterday.
Police expressed confidence that Poaletta will be in custody soon. Inspector Michael Sugrue and investigating officer John Schmidt have been working in concert with police departments across Greater Newburyport. Police have also been reviewing a video of the alleged attack and have retrieved the knife they believe was used in the attack.
Howard said a big concern for police is that the suspect has rearmed himself.
"We're working as quickly as possible to remove this dangerous person from the street," Howard said, adding that anyone hiding the suspect or having visions of seeking revenge will be arrested and prosecuted.
Both Poaletta and Dobson have had multiple brushes with the law. In December, Poaletta, then living in Amesbury, was charged, along with another Amesbury man, with mugging an acquaintance as he walked down Summer Street. In 2009, Poaletta was arrested in Salisbury and charged with a previous warrant and resisting arrest. He was sentenced to community service and ordered to pay a small fine for his 2009 arrest.
Dobson was most recently charged with a crime in March when Amesbury police issued a summons for assault and battery and wanton destruction of property. About two years earlier, Dobson was one of three men arrested by Amesbury police for unlawful possession of alcohol and possession of burglarious instruments.
Keeping the city safe
The stabbing comes during a campaign by local authorities to crack down on youth violence and crime centered around Inn Street. Police have increased walking patrols of the downtown area as part of their Park, Walk and Talk campaign and have installed video cameras in strategic areas to keep an eye on the downtown. Coupled with bicycle patrols of the downtown area, it is hard to travel around that area of the city without seeing a police officer.