July 3, 2021
WAKEFIELD (CBS) — Eleven people have been arrested after Massachusetts State Police dealt with a standoff that shut down Interstate 95 in Wakefield. The highway was closed in both directions Saturday morning but it has since reopened.
An unspecified number of guns was seized.
Two people were arrested around 6:45 a.m. while State Police said there were “several armed persons accounted for at this scene” who were “refusing to comply with orders to provide their information and put down their weapons.” Seven others were arrested around 10:30 a.m., ending the standoff and two additional people were found in the cars as police swept the two cars involved.
According to State Police Colonel Christopher Mason, the surrender of seven came after State Police tightened their perimeter using BearCats.
No injuries were reported.
The standoff stems from an incident hours earlier where a trooper stopped to help two cars pulled over in the breakdown lane. State Police said it appeared the two cars were refueling but the trooper noticed the group was wearing full military-style uniforms. Some people had long rifles, some had pistols, and some had both. The trooper asked for driver’s licenses and proper licensing for the guns, but the group did not provide either.
They told police they were headed from Rhode Island to Maine for training, according to State Police. As the trooper called for backup, several members of the group spread out into the nearby woods.
“At the end of the day we had the desired outcome with is a safe resolution, everybody on all sides of this equation go home safely, and the roadway is open,” said Mason.
At a press conference while the standoff was ongoing, Mason explained: “The self-professed leader wants it very much known that their ideology is not anti-government. I think the investigation that follows from this interaction will provide us insight into what their motivation, what their ideology is, but as a quick down and dirty observation: their actions have had a significant impact on the motoring public, particularly given that this is a holiday weekend.
MassDOT provided large trucks to help secure the scene.
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) July 3, 2021
“As you’ve heard there were a number of guns, we are also working on identification of these individuals. It’s my expectation that all of them will be appearing in the Woburn District Court on a variety of firearms and other charges, and we’ll know that better once we know exactly what we have here. They should be there on Tuesday morning,” said Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan.
Investigators will watch body camera footage to determine charges.
Ryan and Mason applauded the patience and professionalism of the troopers involved.
Residents in Wakefield and Reading were told to shelter in place but the order has since been lifted.
Police from Waltham, Georgetown, Stoneham, Arlington, Lowell, Tewksbury, Burlington, Ayer, and Littleton have also responded to the scene.
Drivers may continue to see police activity in the area.