“Loan shark” of Somerville apartment building stabs resident with kitchen knife after he asked to borrow money

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SOMERVILLE — On Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, at about 11:55 a.m., Somerville Police Housing Officer Sean Browne was dispatched to 1325 Warren Avenue following a report that someone was stabbed in an apartment.

(The account and quotations in this article were obtained from the printed Personnel Narrative of Officer Browne.)

“I arrived minutes later with Somerville units. We met the victim (reporting party), Mr. [name redacted], at his apartment door,” Officer Browne said, adding that the man was breathing heavily and appeared to be “a bit confused.”

“After a brief calming down moment, [the victim] stated that ‘his next-door neighbor Peter in apartment #309 went nuts and stabbed him,’” Officer Browne recounted.

Pietro “Peter” Coco, 70, is a resident of 1325 Warren Avenue, Apt. #309 in Somerville.

“At this point [the victim] turned around, away from me, to show me the back of his shirt. The shirt had several slice holes in it and when I lifted the shirt, I observed two large (6”- 8” inch long) fresh slash cuts across his lower back-directly correlated with the slice holes in his shirt.”

Officer Browne called dispatch over the police radio to request an ambulance for the victim.

The victim then gave a physical description of Coco to Officer Browne, adding that after the incident, Coco ran down the hallway in the direction of the stairwell that leads to the parking lot.

“He said that he is probably gone and he drives ‘a small green-colored trash box that he hoards items in,’” Officer Browne said.

Other responding officers then checked the area for Coco and his vehicle, finding neither.

“[The victim] continued to say that he could not believe that Peter did this over a small loan,” Officer Browne said. “He then stated that Mr. Coco was a loan shark for the residents and apparently was not happy with him.”

According to the victim, the incident took place that day after he went to Coco’s apartment to ask for a loan.

“[The victim] described the scene as inside of Mr. Coco’s apt. #309 next to the kitchen,’” Officer Browne said. “When [the victim] asked to borrow money, Mr. Coco said ‘I have something for you.’ He said that Mr. Coco reached onto the kitchen counter and grabbed a large straight kitchen knife approximately 12” inches long with a dark brown handle. He said that the knife blade looked brownish like it was dirty.”

After Coco slashed his back with the kitchen knife, the victim ran back to his apartment where he called 911. From his apartment, the victim heard Coco’s door slam shut. He then peered out his apartment door, where he saw Coco running down the hallway toward the stairwell exit.

“The ambulance arrived and advised [the victim] go to the hospital to get the injuries cleaned and possibly a tetanus shot,” Officer Browne said.

The man was then transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, while Officer Browne remained on scene to continue the investigation.

“I asked a few residents that were in the hallway if they had heard or seen anything and they said they just heard arguing but saw nothing because they were in their apartments at the time,” Officer Brown said. Adding, “Myself and the Somerville Police Department officers were outside checking the area again when the suspect, Mr. Coco, arrived back in the building’s parking lot operating the described green-colored vehicle bearing MA registration [# redacted].”

Police took Coco into custody and secured his vehicle in the parking lot.

Following his arrest, he was transported to the Somerville police station for booking.

Coco was charged with one count of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (Knife).

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