An armed home invasion last Thursday led to an extensive and as yet unsuccessful search for a gun that Oak Bluffs police believe Richard J. Brymer discarded during his flight from pursuing officers.
Police searched routes between Uncas Avenue, where the home invasion took place, and Greenleaf Avenue, where Mr. Brymer was arrested, Martha’s Vineyard Campground Association property, and Sunset Lake over several days with foot patrol officers, a specially trained K-9 unit, and a fire department dive team, but the searches have been unsuccessful.
Mr. Brymer, 35, of Oak Bluffs was arrested following a police chase and a long, violent struggle with Oak Bluffs police officer Frank Pachico in a wooded area near Greenleaf Avenue. Oak Bluffs officers, as well as Tisbury and Edgartown officers who responded to a call for help, feared for officer Pachico’s safety when there was no radio contact with him for approximately five minutes after he pursued Mr. Brymer into the woods. According to police, Mr. Brymer said he threw the weapon into the woods, but he has refused to help them locate the handgun.
“We would really like to get the gun off the streets,” Oak Bluffs police lieutenant Tim Williamson said. “Obviously it’s a key piece of evidence in our case, but we’re very concerned a kid could come across it.”
Lt. Williamson urged the public to be aware of the discarded weapon and to educate children about the danger. He said anyone who comes across a weapon should leave it alone and immediately call police.
Mr. Brymer was arraigned last Thursday morning on charges of home invasion, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and breaking and entering at night to commit a felony. The court entered not guilty pleas.
He was held under a provision of Massachusetts law that allows a person to be jailed until a dangerousness hearing. On Monday, after hearing testimony from both victims of the home invasion, and from officer Pachico, the court issued a finding of dangerousness, and ordered Mr. Brymer held for 60 days. At the end of the 60 days, he can return to court for a bail hearing.
The violent drama began shortly after midnight, when police say Mr. Brymer kicked in the door of an apartment at 19 Uncas Avenue. The apartment is the home of Tyler Dunnebier. His sister Alicia, who was in the apartment, called 9-1-1 to report the home invasion. According to a court document, she told police when they arrived that Richard Brymer “just kicked in the door, he had a gun, and tried to kill my brother and me. He had us cornered in the bedroom.”
In a police press statement describing the event, police said the victims reported Mr. Brymer was wearing a bandana, and “assaulted the two of them by throwing them down, hitting them with the handgun and holding it up to the male’s head, stating that he was going to kill him.”
Oak Bluffs police called for help from neighboring towns and immediately began a search for the suspect, who fled on foot. About 20 minutes later, a Gorham Avenue resident called police to report a disturbance. Officer Pachico located the suspect on nearby Greenleaf Avenue, and pursued him when he ran into a wooded area.
“Officer Pachico ended up in a long struggle to place Brymer under arrest,” the press statement said. “Pachico was unable to call for help due to the severity of the struggle and responding officers were unable to locate Pachico for approximately five minutes. When frantic officers were finally able to locate Pachico he was exhausted and still attempting to place Brymer in handcuffs.”
The arriving officers handcuffed Mr. Brymer. Officer Pachico suffered an injured knee and received multiple cuts and abrasions during the fight, police said.
Police immediately began a search for the weapon and continued searching during daylight the next day.
“Several officers spent several hours on foot, searching bushes, trash bins, anywhere we thought somebody could have stashed a weapon,” Lt. Williamson said. “We don’t know if he tossed the weapon, or stashed it somewhere. We ended up walking through the campgrounds and searching the most likely route he would have taken.” Police were later aided by a Barnstable County Sheriff K-9 unit, which volunteered to help locate the weapon with a dog specially trained to smell ammunition. On Saturday, the Oak Bluffs Fire Department dive team searched underwater in Sunset Lake, near the area where Mr. Brymer was arrested. Police said they also searched Mr. Brymer’s vehicle, his last known address, and other homes, but all efforts were unsuccessful.
Richard Brymer has a history of scrapes with the law, but police say since a period of arrests for violent crimes and substance abuse more than a decade ago, he had mostly stayed out of trouble until August 7, 2009, when he was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was convicted of the resisting-arrest charge, and fined a total of $300, according to court reports. He was arrested 17 days later and charged with violating an abuse prevention order and possession of a Class E drug, the prescription medication neurontin.
His two brothers, Michael Brymer and William Brymer, also have criminal records. Michael Brymer was in the news just before Christmas of 2007, when he was accused of stealing more than $200 contained in a Salvation Army donation canister from the Stop & Shop grocery store in Vineyard Haven. The entire incident was captured by a security camera.
William Brymer is currently serving a 32-year jail sentence for bank robbery and carjacking, according to newspaper reports. In 2003, he and another man robbed a credit union in Braintree, hijacked a pickup truck at gunpoint, and got away. William Brymer was arrested two days later in Aquinnah.
Tyler Dunnebier, one of the victims of the home invasion, is also no stranger to police. He was arrested on July 12, on a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. According to a police report, he and two other men were involved in an attack on a man in a dispute over an unpaid loan. That dispute ended with the four men battling each other with wooden pickets ripped from a picket fence at the corner of Grant Lane and Circuit Avenue, according to police reports.
Police say the assault over a past loan and the home invasion are unrelated. They would not reveal a motive for last Thursday’s home invasion, but said Richard Brymer and Tyler Dunnebier are known to each other.
“This certainly wasn’t random,” Lt. Williamson said.