WAKEFIELD, Mass. — Police have identified most -- but not all -- of the 11 people arrested after a standoff between armed suspects and State Police on Interstate 95 that led to a temporary shelter-in-place for Wakefield and Reading residents on Saturday.
All 11 males, one of whom is a 17-year-old juvenile, hail from at least three states: New York, Michigan and Rhode Island. They refer to themselves as a militia and state and adhere to “Moorish Sovereign Ideology,” a state police spokesman said late Saturday night.
The eight men who were identified are being held on $100,000 cash bail at the Billerica House of Correction on Saturday night, hours after a tense standoff unfolded early Saturday morning. They are expected to be arraigned next week in Malden District Court.
“The group claimed that it was traveling from Rhode Island to Maine to conduct what it refers to as ‘training,’ None of the men, who were dressed in military fatigues and body armor and were armed with long guns and pistols, has a license to carry firearms,” said David Procopio, spokesman for the Massachusetts State Police.
Troopers recovered eight firearms so far: three AR-15 rifles; two pistols; a bolt-action rifle; a shotgun; and a short barrel rifle.
Several of the prisoners earlier refused to identify themselves to police after their arrest, delaying the booking process, Procopio said. And, two of the males continued to refuse to identify themselves as of late Saturday night.
The eight men who were identified are:
- Jamhal Tavon Sanders Latimer, a.k.a. Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey, 29, of Providence, R.I.;
- Robert Rodriguez, 21, of Bronx, New York;
- Wilfredo Hernandez, a.k.a. Will Musa, 23, of Bronx, New York;
- Alban El Curraugh, 27, of Bronx, New York;
- Aaron Lamont Johnson, a.k.a. Tarrif Sharif Bey, 29, of Detroit, Michigan;
- Quinn Cumberlander, 40, of Pawtucket, R.I.;
- Lamar Dow, 34, of Bronx, New York;
- Conrad Pierre, 29, of Baldwin, New York;
- A 17-year-old male juvenile;
- John Doe #1, refusing to identify self;
- John Doe #2, refusing to identify self
All suspects are facing these charges: unlawful possession of a firearm, eight counts; 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.
Additionally, Hernandez, Johnson, Dow, and the juvenile male are charged with furnishing a false name to police. The 17-year-old juvenile will be released to parental custody.
The tense standoff early Saturday led to a shelter-in-place for some local residents that was later lifted when state police took the 11 males into custody.
Three of the 11 prisoners were taken to the hospital for evaluation; two have since been released and one prisoner remained at a hospital for examination, Procopio said.
According to State Police, a trooper on patrol saw two vehicles in the breakdown lane around 1:30 a.m. Several men were outside and appeared to be refueling the vehicles.
The trooper pulled over to help and noticed eight to ten men wearing tactical, military-style uniforms.
Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Christopher Mason said the men were wearing tactical vests and body cameras.
State police said the trooper called for back-up, and some of the men stayed on the highway while others took off into the woods off I-95.
Police said two of the men were arrested on North Avenue in Wakefield around 6:30 a.m.
A member of the Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council spotted the men walking down the road wearing camouflage. The two were arrested and taken to an undisclosed State Police barracks.
“Some had slung long rifles, some hard firearms, pistols, and some had a combination of both,” Mason said.
The trooper asked to see their driver’s licenses and gun licenses.
“The individuals indicated that they had neither, or they did not have them on their person,” Mason said.
Police confirmed the group has been posting videos from the account “Rise of the Moors” to YouTube from the highway all morning.
Boston 25 News obtained those videos. In them, a man reiterates the group is peaceful.
In some clips, armed men can be seen standing in the middle of the highway waving what appear to be Moroccan flags.
State Police have both vehicles in which the prisoners were traveling and are seeking court authorization to search the vehicles for evidence, Procopio said.
“We continue attempts to obtain statements from the prisoners,” he said.
In a tweet, Gov. Charlie Baker praised the state police who responded to the scene.
“Thank you to the @MassStatePolice for their work today in safely and efficiently deescalating a potentially dangerous situation,” Baker said.
In a statement, John Rosenthal, founder of the nonprofit group Stop Handgun Violence, which is based in Massachusetts, called for “uniform federal gun safety laws.”
“Congress needs to enact laws that require background checks and licensing and restrict the sale and ownership of military style assault weapons that are clearly meant for war and to cause mass harm to innocent citizens,” Rosenthal said.
Rosenthal said the men arrested on Saturday “were allowed to purchase and carry these weapons designed for war because unlike Massachusetts, federal law, as well as Rhode Island and most other state laws, do not prohibit the ownership and sale of military-style assault weapons or require background checks or permits for most gun ownership.”
“The arrests happened only because Massachusetts law prohibits the ownership, sale and transport of military style assault weapons and ammunition magazines greater than ten rounds across its borders, or to carry a gun, loaded or unloaded, on a public way without a gun license,” Rosenthal said.
He commended state police “for their bravery and their ability to deescalate a situation in which they were heavily outnumbered and outgunned.”
State Police said additional charges may be pending against the males who were arrested, after the expected search of their two vehicles.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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