Authorities charge 11 people involved in a standoff with Massachusetts police
The 11 men who were arrested in Wakefield, Massachusetts, after an overnight standoff with Massachusetts State Police (MSP) have been charged with at least six offenses.
The suspects “refer to themselves as a militia” and said they adhere to Moorish Sovereign Ideology, the MSP and Middlesex District Attorney’s office announced in a joint statement Sunday.
The nine-hour ordeal, which started during a police traffic stop, led to the shutdown of part of Interstate 95 and a shelter-in-place order for the surrounding area on a busy holiday weekend, police said.
All suspects are facing charges of eight counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, use of body armor in commission of a crime, possession of a high capacity magazine, improper storage of firearms in a vehicle, and conspiracy to commit a crime, the statement said.
The suspects range from 17 to 40 years old and are from different states, including Rhode Island, New York and Michigan.
Though the joint announcement names most of the arrested individuals except for two who are refusing to identify themselves, CNN is not reporting their names at their time.
The standoff started around 1:30 a.m., when a state trooper saw two vehicles in the breakdown lane with their hazard lights on, Mason said. The men claimed to be “from a group that does not recognize our laws,” according to a statement from the Wakefield Police Department.
The men were wearing what Mason described as tactical vests and military style uniforms, along with body cameras, and they were carrying a mixture of long rifles and pistols. The men indicated they were traveling from Rhode Island for “training,” according to Mason.
Massachusetts State Police said in a tweet around 5:30 a.m. that members of the group were “refusing to comply with orders to provide their information and put down their weapons.”
Police were able to resolve the situation “through a combination of negotiation and tactical measures,” including the use of armored vehicles, Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason said at a news conference.
All arrested individuals surrendered without incident, police said. A number of firearms were seized, including three AR-15 rifles; two pistols; a bolt-action rifle; a shotgun; and a short barrel rifle, according to the Sunday news release.
“I’m not going to talk about what their forum is, and what their ideology is — I think they’ve been pretty vocal on social media about who they are and what they espouse,” Mason said. “I’m not going to propagate that — they can define that for themselves.”
They may face additional charges as the ongoing investigation into Saturday’s events continues, according to the MSP and the DA’s office.
The juvenile defendant will be released to parental custody while the 10 adults are being held at the Billerica House of Correction on $100,000 cash bail, the release said.
They are expected to be arraigned next week in Malden District Court.