Standoff with armed men who did not ‘recognize our laws’ ends with 9 in custody, Massachusetts police say

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The situation began to unfold in the early hours on Saturday morning, when a state trooper stopped to assist a group of motorists refueling two vehicles on the side of the highway. (Massachusetts State Police)

(NEXSTAR) – Police in Massachusetts have taken nine suspects into custody following a standoff with the armed group on the side of a highway, after members claimed that they did not “recognize our laws” before fleeing into the woods during a traffic stop.

“Remaining suspects on highway have been taken into custody by MSP Special Tactical Operations Team.” the Massachusetts State Police wrote on Twitter, after earlier confirming the arrest of two members of the group. “7 additional suspects being transported for booking. We will now conduct sweeps of their 2 vehicles and woods. Total of 9 in custody counting the initial 2 arrests.”

The situation began to unfold in the early hours on Saturday morning, when a state trooper stopped to assist a group of motorists refueling two vehicles at 1:30 a.m. in the emergency breakdown lane of the highway, said Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason during a media briefing. He noted that the trooper observed about 8-to-10 people standing outside of the cars clad in “tactical or military-style uniforms,” some of whom were wearing body cameras or carrying rifles or sidearms.

The trooper asked the group for their drivers’ licenses, and the licenses for their weapons, but they could produce neither, according to Col. Mason.

Backup arrived from both local and state police, but “at some point” during their interaction with the group, a number of them fled into the wooded area off the highway.

Two of the men were apprehended and arrested by members of the North Eastern Massachusetts Police Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC).

The hostage negotiation team then engaged with remaining members of the group, some of whom were still by the vehicles.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to resolve this peacefully with them,” Col. Mason said shortly before all nine members were eventually taken into custody.

Local police had earlier warned residents to shelter in place during the standoff, as the men were considered dangerous.

“No threats were made, but these men should be considered armed and dangerous,” the Wakefield Police Department said in a statement posted to its website on Saturday morning. “We are asking residents in these areas to lock their doors and remain inside their homes. A heavy police presence will be in this area as well.”

I-95 in Wakefield was also shut down in both directions, along with one of the commuter lines that runs through the area, state police said.

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