Investigating agencies have been tight-lipped about the for suspects in connection to a Saugus bank robbery last Friday, but newly released court documents can now provide a deeper level of detail to the evening's chaotic events.
The following narrative was pieced together with information provided by the Malden and Lynn district courts, including firsthand reports from nine police officers and paraphrased witnesses.
Information about the bank robbery was relayed to local officers by FBI investigators.
Note that all of the circumstances described below are alleged to have occurred by the officers who wrote the reports—none of these supects have been convicted of any crimes, and are considered innocent until proven guilty by the courts.
Just before 5 p.m. Friday, two men wearing plastic masks and body armor walked into a Saugusbank branch on Route 1, pointed semi-automatic guns at bank employees and ordered six tellers to lie on the ground.
One of the suspects, wearing a knitted hat with “FBI” stitched on the front, was later identified by police through surveillance footage as William Ekasala, 35, of East Boston.
The second, Michael Ginnetti, 38, of Winthrop, is also seen on camera, investigators said.
According to witnesses, the men allegedly threatened to kill employees who did not comply with their demands. They then asked a manager to step forward, and instructed them to fill two black nylon bags full of cash “without dye packets.”
The manager complied, and suspects fled the scene without causing further harm to bystanders.
The car chase
The men then allegedly entered a red Honda Civic, driven by a third suspect witnesses would later identify as Gabriel Megna, and took off down Route 1. Police later identified the vehicle as one stolen from East Boston the previous evening.
Several Saugus police officers gave chase, with one reporting he saw a fourth suspect in the vehicle. It is unclear if he miscounted the number of passengers, or if a fourth, unidentified suspect remains at large.
Officers lost sight of the vehicle for a short period as it drove “at a high rate of speed” through red lights and, at times, on the wrong side of the road.
The vehicle was later found parked at an angle in a handicapped spot at , at 500 Broadway.
The split-up: “I don't want to hurt you—we're in a lot of trouble.”
Witnesses told police they saw three suspects abandon the car in the parking lot—one jumping over a nearby fence, with two others running inward toward the building's parking lot.
A female resident at the building saw the fleeing suspects, and proceeded to park her car in the lot. Suddenly, she said,she saw one of the men pointing at gun at her through the passenger-side door.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he allegedly told her. “We're in a lot of trouble."
The victim's three-month-old child was in the backseat of the vehicle, she said. The suspects allowed her to exit the vehicle and retrieve her child from the backseat before entering the car themselves.
Witnesses reported that the car's engine repeatedly revved, but did not move, “possibly because the man now in the driver's seat could not operate the manual transmission,” the police report observed.
Deterred, the suspects split up, with Megna allegedly fleeing into the apartment complex and Ekasala allegedly stealing a Mitsubishi Lancer in the parking lot.
Details remain sketchy about the shoot-out that ultimately killed Ekasala, who allegedly opened fire on some veteran Malden Police officers who then responded in kind.
He was later transported in “grave condition” to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was ultimately pronounced dead.
Police found a silver revolver matching the weapon seen in bank surveillance footage and a black nylon bag containing $2,247 in the passenger-side of the stolen Mitsubishi.
Investigators also recovered body armor and some “blood-soaked” cash off of Ekasala's person.
The foot chase
Investigators say Ginnetti fled the parking lot before the shoot-out, and was apprehended by two Saugus detectives in a backyard at the Granada Highlands Apartment complex.
A detective reported seeing a “male wearing gloves and a hooded sweatshirt on a 70-degree day,” apparently holding a large bulge under his clothes, running down a grass hill in the facility.
“We believed this could possibly be the suspect involved in the bank robbery,” the officer wrote.
They ultimately found Ginnetti lying down beside a large rock, and approached him with drawn weapons, according to the detective's report.
“We continued to yell verbal commands to the male stating for him not to move,” he wrote. “The man remained still with both hands in the air.”
The detectives recovered a silver semi-automatic pistol, a pair of black gloves, a screwdriver, body armor and a black nylon bag containing $2,660.
He was then arrested and taken to the Saugus Police Station. Complaining of asthmatic problems, an ambulance took him to Lynn Union Hospital for treatment, though he was later re-released into police custody.
The last suspect apprehended by police was Megna, the heist's alleged driver.
He was apprehended in the Cliffside Commons Apartment complex, after a resident reported seeing his sneakers peaking out from under a stairwell.
A SWAT team then approached Megna, and determined he was not a resident in the complex. Two witnesses ultimately tied him to driving the red Honda Civic getaway vehicle, as well as the attempted carjacking.
He was subsequently transported to the Malden Police station.
Arraigned on Monday, the surviving suspects .
Megna, who has previous convictions for manslaughter and assault with a dangerous weapon, could face a minimum of 15 years in prison up to a mandatory life sentence as a result of his record.
He pleaded not guilty to charges of armed carjacking, assault with a dangerous weapon and receiving a stolen motor vehicle during his arraignment Monday morning. He is being held on $1 million bail.
Ginnietti also pleaded not guilty in Lynn District Court, where he faced ten felony charges, including armed robbery with a mask and body armor.
Ginnietti is being held without bail and faces a dangerous hearing in Lynn District Court on Friday at 11 a.m.