Massachusetts police arrest group of 'heavily armed men' claiming to 'not recognize our laws'

·3 min read
Massachusetts police arrest group of 'heavily armed men' claiming to 'not recognize our laws'

A bizarre incident unfolded Saturday morning in Wakefield, Massachusetts. According to local police: "during a motor vehicle stop, several heavily armed men claiming to be from a group that does not recognize our laws exited their vehicles and fled into the woodline" near Interstate Highway 95.

The incident unfolded around 1:30 a.m. when a state trooper came across a group of 8 to 10 people refueling on the side of the I-95 highway in Wakefield, a suburb of Boston. The group was dressed in military-style uniforms, carried tactical gear like body cameras and helmets and had long guns slung over their shoulders.

They told officials they were on their way to Maine from Rhode Island for "training," Col. Christopher Mason said.

Officials said they made two initial arrests and the rest of the group, which calls itself "Moorish American Arms," fled into a wooded area that is now surrounded by police. As a result, a stretch of I-95 was closed and shelter-in-place orders were set for people who live nearby.

Police negotiators talked to those hiding in the woods throughout the early morning.

"We're trying to successfully and peacefully resolve this," Mason said.

As of 10:30 a.m. Saturday the "remaining suspects on highway" were taken into custody by MSP Special Tactical Operations Team, Massachusetts State Police said in an update.

Officials had conducted searches of the two vehicles the suspects were in and the surrounding woods.

"Two additional suspects were located in their vehicles, bringing the total number of those arrested to 11 (two initially on North Avenue and nine outside and inside the vehicles)," the MSP tweeted.

"7 additional suspects being transported for booking ... Total of 9 in custody counting the initial 2 arrests," MSP had tweeted earlier.

PHOTO: A suspect is taken into custody as Massachusetts state police respond to group of armed men blocking Interstate 97  claiming to not recognize laws in the area of Wakefield, Mass., July 3, 2021.. (Massachusetts State Police)
PHOTO: A suspect is taken into custody as Massachusetts state police respond to group of armed men blocking Interstate 97 claiming to not recognize laws in the area of Wakefield, Mass., July 3, 2021.. (Massachusetts State Police)

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The Wakefield Police Department said in an early morning statement: "Approximately 8 males fled into the woods carrying rifles and handguns and appear to be contained in the wooded area adjacent to the highway. No threats were made, but these men should be considered armed and dangerous."

Massachusetts State Police, who are also on the scene, tweeted early Saturday: "We have several armed persons accounted for at this scene on Rt 95. They are refusing to comply with orders to provide their information and put down their weapons. We are asking residents of Wakefield and Reading to shelter in place at this time."

PHOTO: Massachusetts state police respond to group of armed men blocking Interstate 97  claiming to not recognize laws in the area of Wakefield, Mass., July 3, 2021. (Massachusetts State Police via Twitter)
PHOTO: Massachusetts state police respond to group of armed men blocking Interstate 97 claiming to not recognize laws in the area of Wakefield, Mass., July 3, 2021. (Massachusetts State Police via Twitter)
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At around 6:40 a.m. ET, state police announced that two suspects were arrested by members of The Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council in Wakefield. Police took them into custody and transported them to one of their barracks.

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"The situation is ongoing w/remaining members of the group. We continue to work to resolve the situation peacefully," they tweeted.

PHOTO: Massachusetts state police respond to group of armed men blocking Interstate 97  claiming to not recognize laws in the area of WWakefield, Mass., July 3, 2021. (Massachusetts State Police via Twitter)
PHOTO: Massachusetts state police respond to group of armed men blocking Interstate 97 claiming to not recognize laws in the area of WWakefield, Mass., July 3, 2021. (Massachusetts State Police via Twitter)

Police said a "heavy police presence" will remain in the area, and they are asking residents to lock their doors and stay home.

No injuries or shots fired have been reported.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky contributed to this report

Massachusetts police arrest group of 'heavily armed men' claiming to 'not recognize our laws' originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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