Massachusetts state police have arrested a group of “heavily armed men” who claimed they did not “recognise our laws,” following an hours-long standoff on a major highway.
The incident unfolded at 1:30am local time Saturday morning when a state trooper came across a group of eight to 10 armed men while they were refueling on the side of I-95 in Wakefield, a northern suburb of Boston.
The men told officials that they were travelling from Rhode Island to Maine for “training”.
These men were wearing tactical gear that included body cameras and helmets, and they had long guns slung over their shoulders.
Two suspects were arrested, but this prompted approximately eight males, who said they’re in a group called “Moorish American Arms,” to flee into a wooded area off the highway.
“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,” the Wakefield Police Department said in a statement.
After hours of attempting to negotiate with the men, police were able to arrest the remaining suspects.
“Remaining suspects on highway have been taken into custody by MSP Special Tactical Operations Team. 7 additional suspects being transported for booking,” Massachusetts state police said in a statement. “We will now conduct sweeps of their 2 vehicles and woods. Total of 9 in custody counting the initial 2 arrests.”
A stretch of 1-95 remained closed following the incident, as authorities worked to sweep the area and vehicles involved in the incident.
This all comes after residents of Wakefield and Reading were asked to shelter in place and avoid the area amid the standoff.
Police lifted the shelter-in-place order after the remaining suspects were arrested on Saturday morning.
Initially, the remaining men refused to drop their weapons or comply with police orders.
“We continue to engage the suspects in conversation in an effort to de-escalate the situation on 95 and bring it to a peaceful end,” Massachusetts state police said at one point during the incident.
Officials said that a “heavily armed presence” of police would remain in the area as they worked to sweep the area.
There were no reports of shots being fired or anyone injured during the standoff.
This is a developing story