From security vendor to suspect in Lowell

Menacing behavior by government contractor

TIMOTHY GROVER’S FIRM was hired by city and state government to provide security services, but he was the one who raised the alarm Monday when he slipped into Lowell High School and went on a tear – menacing people with threats of violence.

Today, a judge in Lowell is scheduled to determine whether Grover is too dangerous to let out of custody. Another reckoning remains for the business arrangements of his Lowell security firm, Madison Security Group.

The Lowell Sun’s Elizabeth Dobbins reports that Lowell Public Schools told the company it would no longer use its services and City Manager Eileen Donoghue has instructed her legal department to review a three-year $2.4 million contract for Madison to secure five Lowell parking garages.

Reporters haven’t been able to get a peep out of Madison so far. Megan’s House Foundation, a substance abuse treatment home for women that Grover established after the tragic 2014 overdose death of his daughter, was more proactive about distancing itself from the man. The organization said Grover “has not been involved with any aspect of our operations” since a year and a half ago.

A glance at CTHRU, the state’s online spending ledger, reveals that Madison has done business recently with state government, including the Department of Public Health and the Department of Mental Health. The website also identifies the city of Providence as a Madison client.

Ironically in retrospect, Madison had been hired by Lowell schools to respond to nighttime alarms and vandalism, providing up to $5,000 per year in security services for the schools.

Grover’s alleged rampage through the downtown school occurred the day before the start of classes.

Bill Shields, a reporter for CBS Boston, summed it up in a piece after Grover’s arrest, saying “This is really a strange one. No good explanation for it.”

After a “couple of drinks at lunch,” the 55-year-old Dracut man remembers going into the school, but claimed to police that his memory thereafter went blank, according to a thorough account by Boston.com. Security footage caught him entering a side door that had been propped open by workers, and once inside, a woman claims, an intoxicated Grover threatened her while she was preparing a classroom.

Grover allegedly told her to call the police “because someone is going to rape you.” When she asked who, he said, “I am” and then tried to block her exit as she ran out of the room, according to the woman’s report to police.

During a separate incident inside the school, Grover approached students in an auditorium who were participating in club activities, and allegedly grabbed a boy by the collar, insisting, “You have a gun on you.” Grover allegedly pushed a female teacher out of the way as the boy and other students left the auditorium. According to police statements, he chased the boy down a hallway and took a swing at him, but missed, and caught a punch in return from the fleeing student.

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Andy Metzger

Reporter, CommonWealth magazine

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

About Andy Metzger

Andy Metzger joined CommonWealth Magazine as a reporter in January 2019. He has covered news in Massachusetts since 2007. For more than six years starting in May 2012 he wrote about state politics and government for the State House News Service.  At the News Service, he followed three criminal trials from opening statements to verdicts, tracked bills through the flumes and eddies of the Legislature, and sounded out the governor’s point of view on a host of issues – from the proposed Olympics bid to federal politics.

Before that, Metzger worked at the Chelmsford Independent, The Arlington Advocate, the Somerville Journal and the Cambridge Chronicle, weekly community newspapers that cover an array of local topics. Metzger graduated from UMass Boston in 2006. In addition to his written journalism, Metzger produced a work of illustrated journalism about Gov. Charlie Baker’s record regarding the MBTA. He lives in Somerville and commutes mainly by bicycle.

A custodian then removed Grover from the building, and National Park Rangers found him nearby. Grover was described as belligerent in police custody and allegedly told police, “I can’t wait to kill you.”

Despite the claim of a significant memory impairment, Grover’s lawyer, Daniel Thompson, told reporters, “He’s going to fight these charges, and he denies them in their entirety.”

It all calls to mind another strange incident of a well-known, successful, middle-aged man suddenly behaving erratically in downtown Lowell. Nine years ago, Jim Marzilli, then a 50-year-old state senator from Arlington, accosted women on the street, and then fled until he was apprehended, coincidentally in light of this week’s news, at one of the city’s parking garages.