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Two men arrested in Belmont double stabbing

John Drouin (left) and Robert Rama

(Courtesy)

John Drouin (left) and Robert Rama (Courtesy)

The police arrested two men yesterday in connection with an early morning double stabbing inside a Belmont apartment that resulted in serious injuries.

John Drouin, 27, of Laconia, and Robert Rama, 21, of Concord, were arrested by U.S. Marshals about 2 p.m. at a residence on Union Avenue in Laconia, following a daylong search that included several area departments.

Corey Cromwell of 252 Daniel Webster Highway, Apt. 1, is believed to be the target of the attack that occurred about 1 a.m. at his rented apartment, Belmont police Chief Mark Lewandoski said. Cromwell was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon and treated for multiple stab wounds to the neck, throat and upper torso. He was listed in fair condition last night, a nursing supervisor in the hospital’s intensive care unit said.

A second man, John Hynes of Laconia, was stabbed several times in his torso and was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia, the police said. His condition was unknown, but Lewandoski said his injuries were not as serious as Cromwell’s. A call to LRGH last night was not returned.

Cromwell’s girlfriend, whose name was not released, witnessed the stabbing yesterday and called 911, Lewandoski said. She received a small cut on her hand during the attack, he said. Neither the police nor the hospitals released the ages of the victims.

Drouin faces two charges of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon. He refused to meet with a bail commissioner, the police reported. He is being held at the Belknap County jail until his arraignment, when bail conditions will be determined. Rama was charged with second-degree assault and criminal liability for the conduct of another. He is being held at Belknap County jail on $50,000 cash bail. Both men will be arraigned today in Laconia’s district court.

“We have no idea what prompted this or why this took place,” Lewandoski said outside the apartments midday yesterday. The police, though, said they do not believe the attack was random.

Little has been released about what happened inside the home. But there are more details about the moments and hours after the alleged attack.

The police said they believe Drouin and Rama arrived at Cromwell’s apartment in a Mercedes-Benz. The police said the two men split up when leaving the scene – one on foot and one in the vehicle. Lewandoski said he thinks the suspect who originally fled on foot was picked up by the one driving the Mercedes-Benz, then both men traveled to an unknown location. The vehicle, later driven by an unidentified woman, was spotted by the Tilton police not far from Cromwell’s apartment. Neither suspect was in the car, Lewandowski said. The police impounded the vehicle, and the driver and passenger were questioned and released. Further charges against those in the vehicle are possible, the police said.

‘Pretty diverse record’

Drouin has a lengthy history with the Laconia Police Department, Sgt. Mike Finogle said last night. Drouin’s in-house arrest record with the department goes back at least 10 years, he said, with mostly misdemeanors ranging from simple assaults to receiving stolen property.

“It’s a pretty diverse record, actually,” Finogle said.

Cromwell and Hynes recently moved to the area, Lewandoski said.

“We haven’t had any previous contact with them,” Lewandoski said of Cromwell and Hynes. “These people came from Northfield. Where they came from before that we are not sure of.”

“It’s such a transient population now, it’s hard to keep track of people,” he added.

Cromwell’s building is made up of four apartments clustered around a single, shared bathroom, Lewandoski said. The stabbings occurred outside the bathroom, he said. Only two of the apartments are rented, he added.

Belmont police cruisers and a detective’s SUV remained parked outside the two-story building with lights flashing throughout the day. Blood could be seen in small patches in the snow and mixing with water in puddles from the door to the road a few dozen feet away. A Belmont officer stood at the door leading to the second story of what appeared to be a split-level home with a business on the lower level and apartments on the upper floor.

Lewandoski said his officers have noticed a recent increase in crime in the town of about 7,400.

“We’re right between Concord and Laconia and Franklin,” Lewandoski said. “It’s just an area that is being more and more populated. Unfortunately, with expansion, comes problems.”

(Daira Cline can be reached at 369-3306 or dcline@cmonitor.com.)

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