WESTFORD, Mass. — A Boston man is facing several serious charges after an incident involving a gun at a youyh basketball tournament in Westford over the weekend.
Westford Police tell Boston 25 News that officers were called to The Mill Works athletic complex around 3:00 p.m. Sunday “for a disturbance” and later found the gun stashed in a baby’s diaper bag.
Jose Mow, 34, of Boston was arrested according to Westford Police.
According to details from court paperwork, Mow pulled out the gun after a confrontation with parents from an opposing team. Witnesses also told police that it appeared the gun “jammed” as Mow handled the gun, Police estimated about 1,000 people were inside the sports complex at the time, many of whom were seen on surveillance video “sprinting towards the exit, laying on the floor covering their children and attempting to hide behind any type of cover they can find,” according to court paperwork.
Mow is charged with several crimes, including carrying a firearm without a license, ammunition possession, assault with a dangerous weapon, and causing a disturbance at a public assembly. Mow was arraignment in Ayer District Court on Monday.
Video posted to Twitter by a basketball coach from Connecticut shows teams scrambling from the courts during tournament play on Sunday.
Garrett Hickey tells Boston 25 that the program he coaches for had some teams in Westford over the weekend.
Police dispatchers told responding officers that “there were multiple reporting parties stating that someone shouted ‘gun!’ and the entire building then evacuated,” according to court paperwork.
Court paperwork indicates an off-duty police officer from Connecticut flagged down Westford Police and pointed them in the direction of a man with a gun who was about to leave the complex’s parking lot. When stopped, the driver, identified as Mow, “immediately put his hands in the air.” according to the court paperwork.
Police say Mow was in the car with a woman and their two children.
According to court documents, Mow told police he was at the complex to watch his son’s basketball game and that he told the players and parents from an opposing to be quiet after being “verbally abusive towards a female referee.”
“He stated that he then began verbally arguing with the parents when one of the opposing team parents threw a blind sided punch at him, striking him in the nose.”
“He stated he then turned around and took out his cell phone to videotape what was happening. He stated that is what he believed people thought was a gun,” according to the report.
Police then reviewed surveillance video from the sports complex and the report says an officer “was able to find video surveillance of Mow removing a gun from his waistband” inside the building.
After being told the car he was driving was going to be seized, Mow admitted to police that the gun in question was hidden inside a baby’s bag in the car, according to the court paperwork. Police say they recovered a small silver/metallic .380 pistol inside the bag.
“There was a loaded magazine inside the gun and there was one bullet in the chamber,” according to the report.
A witness told police he saw Mow “charge the firearm,” according to the report. “He (witness) stated that it appeared as if Mow was having issues with the firearm and that the firearm appeared to be jammed.”
Police also said that Mow can be seen on surveillance moving onto an adjacent basketball court “while attempting to rack the slide of the gun to chamber a bullet.”
The report indicates the officer saw no injuries to Mow after the incident, and that he had run a background check on him, revealing a guilty plea by Mow in a 2011 case out of Roxbury District Court for carrying a firearm without a license.
Police also said that there is no reason - at this point - to believe that Mow had been hit by any of the witnesses, based on the surveillance.
“Investigators have been able to review some video from the scene and are still investigating what led to the altercation,” according to a statement by the Middlesex District Attorney’s office.
“This was a frightening and potentially dangerous situation that has no place in youth sports,” said District Attorney Marian Ryan. “We have put a focus in Middlesex County on building a culture of safe and respectful behavior on the sidelines at these types of events and that is not what occurred yesterday. These types of altercations among adults are unacceptable and can have lasting impacts on our young people.”
Boston 25 News has reached out to The Mill Works for comment and the organizers of the tournament.
Investigators are asking for anyone with video of the incident or who was present at the tournament who have not yet spoke to police to call Westford Police at (978) 692-2161.
Editor’s Note: A spokesperson for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tells Boston 25 that the tournament in Westford was not licensed by the AAU. The AAU also says the organizer for the tournament, Marquee Sports, does not have membership in the AAU, and that at least one of the teams playing that weekend that claims to be an AAU program is not an AAU club and says the organization has asked the program to remove all references to AAU on its website. The AAU said it could not comment on the potential AAU status of other teams involved in the Westford tournament without seeing a list of all teams involved in the tournament.
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