BARNSTABLE, Mass. — The son of Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason has been charged with improper storage of a firearm. A clerk magistrate found probable cause to issue a complaint against 22-year-old Reid Mason from West Barnstable during a hearing at Barnstable District Court on Tuesday. Clerk magistrate hearings are typically private but the court opened it due to public interest in the case.
Barnstable Police Lt. Joseph Green read from a police report that said 2 plain clothes officers found Reid Mason from West Barnstable asleep in his Jeep in a parking lot behind a Hyannis Bar shortly after midnight on February 28th. Green said Mason was slumped over and partially hanging out the driver’s side door.
“While speaking with Mr. Mason the officers were overwhelmed by a strong odor of alcoholic beverage…his eyes were red and glassy and he had a difficult time answering questions,” Lt. Green said.
Mason told officers he was sleeping and did not need medical attention.
Officers seized five guns from the passenger seat area of the Jeep and cases of ammunition were found in 2 backpacks in the vehicle. The weapons were not loaded and Mason had a valid license to carry at the time. According to police, a family member picked Mason up from the scene. Police did not identify the relative.
Attorney Peter A. Lloyd represented Mason in the hearing. He confirmed that no tests were conducted to confirm that Mason was intoxicated. He asked Lt. Green, “you agree with me that someone’s eyes can be red and glassy for something other than alcohol consumption, right?” Lt. Green responded, “correct”.
Barnstable Police have not revealed why the department waited more than 2 months to take Mason to court. The hearing wasn’t scheduled until after word of the encounter leaked to several media outlets. In a statement, Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe said his office was not made aware of the gun seizure until late April. Initially, Barnstable Police claimed to have no public record of the encounter. The delay fueled speculation that Mason was provided special treatment because he is the State Police Commander’s son.
Mason’s license to carry has been revoked and his lawyer said he’s suspended without pay from his job as an EMT on the lower Cape. Mason declined to comment after the hearing. He will receive a summon in the mail to answer the charge. If convicted, he could face more than a year in prison and fine of up to $7500.
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