A neighborhood is in shock and a family is grieving after a bank robbery in Saugus Friday turned deadly a few miles away in Malden and left one suspect from Eastie dead and another behind bars.
Gabriel Megna, 48, of East Boston, was arraigned Monday in Malden District Court on charges of armed carjacking, assault with a dangerous weapon and receiving a stolen motor vehicle after he and two others allegedly robbed Saugusbank on the Lynn Fells Parkway.
Malden District Court Judge Antoinette Leoney ordered the defendant held on one million dollars cash bail. His next court date is May 11 for a probable cause hearing.
According to authorities, before 5 p.m. on Friday Saugus Police received 911 calls reporting an armed bank robbery in progress at the Saugusbank. Police reported that the suspects fled the scene in a stolen motor vehicle driven by Megna, beginning a manhunt that led authorities from Saugus to Malden.
The three suspects then drove to a parking lot on Broadway in Malden where they exited the stolen vehicle and attempted to flee that area on foot.
Megna and William Ekasala, 35, of East Boston then allegedly carjacked another motor vehicle occupied by a female driver and her 3-month-old daughter. Unable to drive the carjacked vehicle away because it was a stick shift, Megna allegedly fled on foot to a nearby building located at 500 Broadway in Malden, where he was later located hiding under a stairwell and arrested.
As he ran from the scene, Ekasala reportedly shot at responding police officers from the Malden Police Department. Responding officers and Ekasala then exchanged gunfire, and Ekasala was struck during the exchange. Witnesses report that at least 15-20 rounds were fired during the exchange. Ekasala was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
A third suspect, Michael Ginnetti, 38, of Winthrop, who had fled the stolen car in a different direction than Megna and Ekasala, was arrested by responding police officers nearby. He was charged in connection with the armed bank robbery in Saugus and will be prosecuted by the Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s Office this week.
The legal justifiability of the police involved shooting is being investigated by the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, per protocol.
Agencies involved in the investigation are the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office, the Saugus and Malden Police Departments, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation Bank Robbery Task Force.
The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney John Verner, Chief of the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office’s PACT Unit.