11 People Arrested in Hourslong Armed Roadside Standoff With Massachusetts Police Officers

The authorities in Massachusetts blocked traffic as they searched for armed men after an early-morning roadside encounter in Wakefield on Saturday. (Credit…Faith Ninivaggi/Reuters)

Eleven men were taken into custody on Saturday after a lengthy roadside standoff between police officers in Massachusetts and a group of heavily armed men in tactical gear who claimed to be part of a group called Rise of the Moors.

Dozens of police officers from Massachusetts and New Hampshire responded to the standoff, which shut down part of a highway for several hours and prompted the authorities to order people in surrounding communities to shelter in place.

The men, who appeared to be livestreaming the standoff on YouTube, eventually surrendered to the police without any shots being fired, the authorities said. There were no injuries, although three of the men in the group were hospitalized with what the police described as pre-existing conditions that had nothing to do with the standoff.

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“I attribute the successful resolution of this to both patience, professionalism and partnership,” Col. Christopher Mason of the Massachusetts State Police said. “At the end of the day, we have the desired outcome, which is a safe resolution.”

The standoff, according to the State Police, began at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday when a state trooper stopped to check on two vehicles that had pulled over in the emergency breakdown lane of Interstate 95 in Wakefield, about 15 miles north of Boston. The men were refilling their gas tanks with their own fuel, and they appeared to be wearing military tactical gear and carrying rifles and other guns. Colonel Mason said the men had said they were making their way from Rhode Island to Maine for “training.”

When the men failed to provide identification and firearm licenses, as requested, the trooper asked for backup, Colonel Mason said.

“You can imagine 11 armed individuals standing with long guns slung on an interstate highway at 2 in the morning certainly raises concerns, and is not consistent with the firearms laws that we have here in Massachusetts,” Colonel Mason said. “I understand that they have a different perspective on that. I appreciate that perspective. I disagree with that perspective.”

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SOURCE: The New York Times, Isabella Grullón Paz and Michael Levenson

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