Wakefield standoff ends: All 11 'heavily armed' suspects in custody, I-95 repoens

Sweeps were also conducted of the suspects' two vehicles and the woods and were cleared before being processed for evidence, police said.


                            Wakefield standoff ends: All 11 'heavily armed' suspects in custody, I-95 repoens
The highway was shut down between Lynnfield and Stoneham, with Massachusetts State Police asking drivers to avoid the area (Twitter/ @MassStatePolice)

WAKEFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS: Police on Saturday arrested all 11 armed members of a group that fled into the woods after a highway traffic stop, ending an hours long standoff off at Interstate 95 in Wakefield.

Two of the 11 suspects were apprehended earlier in the morning, 6:40 a.m ET. The remaining nine members were taken into custody later.

Sweeps were also conducted of the suspects' two vehicles and the woods and were cleared before being processed for evidence, police said.

Earlier the cops had issued a shelter-in place order for Wakefield and nearby Reading because suspects in military gear were at large in the nearby wooded area and were "refusing the put down their weapons."

A heavily armed men were refusing to comply with police on the morning of Saturday, July 3, which prompted Interstate 95 to be closed. The highway was shut down between Lynnfield and Stoneham, with Massachusetts State Police asking drivers to avoid the area altogether. 

The suspects are believed to be members of a group called 'The Rise of The Moors – The Moorish American Arms'. Police said the men said they do not "recognize our laws” and fled into a wooded area after police approached.

According to WCVB, the group posted a video on Instagram overnight showing armed members blocking the highway.

READ MORE 

Who are Moorish American Arms? Wakefield I-95 standoff group ‘don’t recognize our laws’: Cops

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Dressed in military-style tactical gear

According to Wakefield police, the incident began when a state police cruiser on patrol on I-95 in Wakefield around 1:30 a.m. observed two vehicles stopped in the breakdown lane with their hazard lights on. A trooper stopped to assist the motorists and saw that they were attempting to refuel their vehicles

Police said the trooper noticed that there were 8-10 people in two cars — they were in full military-style uniforms, some with long rifles, pistols, and some with both. The trooper asked for driver’s licenses and proper licensing for the guns but they did not have any available, Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason told reporters.

The group refused to comply with orders to put their weapons down and provide information about their identities. The trooper immediately requested backup and additional state police as well as local police responded.

At some point, a number of the men took off into the bearny woods with their firearms. A perimeter was quickly established and two of the men were arrested, one of whom was armed.

Mason said he has seen body camera footage of the initial interactions and applauded the trooper for being patient with the group. The group was traveling from Rhode Island to Maine for what was described as “training”, he told reporters.

“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,” Mason said.

Police issued shelter-in-place order 

Police also issued an urgent shelter-in-place order for residents of Wakefield and Reading. They were advised to lock their doors. A perimeter was set up along the woodline and residents were asked to avoid Interstate 95 in both directions in Wakefield. The Commuter T line that runs through the active area was also shutdown.

Residents were allowed to leave the town but were asked to avoid the impacted area near North Avenue, Parker Road, and Ash Street, Wakefield Police Chief Steven Skory said. 

FBI Boston Division 'fully engaged'

The FBI Boston Division said it was "fully engaged" with its state and local partners, but had refused to make further comment on the situation as it was still ongoing.

Wakefield police initially said the men appeared to be contained in the wooded area that intersects with I-95. But police were seen further up North Street in Wakefield searching wooded and non-wooded areas, the report claimed.

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