Tisbury man held on attempted murder, gun, bomb charges

Tisbury man held on attempted murder, gun, bomb charges

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Matthew Gamache in Edgartown District Court Wednesday. — Photo by Steve Myrick

A Maine man with a record of violent assaults was ordered held on $250,000 bail Wednesday, after his arrest on charges of attempted murder, assault, unlawful possession of weapons, and unlawful possession of an explosive device.

Police responded to a home on North William Street shortly after 4 am Wednesday. A woman who lives there said her boyfriend, Matthew Gamache, choked her and butted her, after they argued about turning off a television. Mr. Gamache fled the scene before police arrived. He was later arrested in Edgartown without incident.

Police seized 24 guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and several pounds of black powder, most of it stored behind a locked door fastened shut with wood screws.

Police also found a small cylinder wrapped in duct tape, with a green cord of fuse-like material sticking out from the top, according to the police report.

The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad, after reviewing pictures of the device, said it resembled an explosive device. The bomb squad, unable to respond to the Island immediately, gave local police instructions to safely remove the device from the house and store it at the State Police barracks in Oak Bluffs, until squad members arrive on Martha’s Vineyard on March 7, to inspect and detonate it.

At a bail hearing in Edgartown District Court, Mr. Gamache’s attorney, Michele Casavant, asked that bail be set at $10,000, but Dukes County clerk-magistrate Liza Williamson rejected the defense request and instead set bail at $250,000.

“I’m concerned that this is an incident that stemmed from domestic abuse,” Ms. Williamson said in court before setting bail. “There’s a history of domestic abuse. The explosive device, the quantity of weapons, the black powder, is concerning.”

In court, Mr. Gamache tried to argue that the object police seized was not an explosive device, but he was quickly advised by his attorney not to speak.

In a 2000 case, Mr. Gamache was convicted in Roxbury District Court of assault and received a two-year suspended sentence, according to police. In 2008, he was charged in Edgartown District Court with resisting arrest.

In court there was some confusion about Mr. Gamache’s legal residency. In court papers, he listed his residency as York, Maine. His attorney at first argued that he lived here and had strong ties to the Island. She later offered clarification, explaining that Maine is his legal residence, but he has owned a construction business on Martha’s Vineyard for the past four years.

Mr. Gamache is to be arraigned Thursday morning in Edgartown District Court.


    1. She has attacked him about 100 times in the last 11 years…. love/lust will make a man blind. But until you wakeup in jail with a bunch of blow out of this world charges, and only then do you start to see the light. It’s hard to walk away for someone you love, even if they are violent towards you. Matt is one of the safest gun owners I know. Matt would never use a gun in an unlawful manner. Strictly by the book. Matt is a sportsmen who never breaks any hunting laws/gun laws. Matt has his FID, and has been around guns his whole life. This is all wrong information from a violent vindictive spouse. You will see in time that he was attacked, and only tried to protect himself from more harm.

  1. Was he going to blow up his wife? Get this guy outta here!
    Good job edgartown police. Way to keep your eyes open.

      1. She punched him 6 times in the face over a TV…. If anyone should be in jail it’s her.

        1. You’re not doing your friend any favors by discussing his case on an internet comment section.

        2. Says the guy arrested for assault and gun charges a couple months ago….maybe not the best guy to advise on how to navigate the legal system

  2. Wonderful a Maine man come to the storybook island of Martha’s Vineyard with a record of violent assaults has 24 guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and several pounds of black powder, and a small cylinder wrapped in duct tape, with a green cord of fuse-like material sticking out from the top.

    Wow I thought in 1998, Massachusetts passed what was hailed as the toughest gun-control legislation in the country. It also it banned semiautomatic “assault” weapons, imposed strict new licensing rules, prohibited anyone convicted of a **violent crime** or drug trafficking from ever carrying or owning a gun, and enacted severe penalties for storing guns unlocked.
    If he is a registered Democrat we will never hear about it and they will quickly say the poor man needs treatment and understanding! Any bets???

  3. I know Matt. He is a member of the Rod and Gun Club. Matt is a great skeet shooter. Matt is very safe hunter, and gun owner. Matt loves to hunt and fish. He had a small fishing bomb made to stun fish, which he uses down south in the rivers and ponds. The black powder is to reload his skeet shot
    gun shells to save on money. Matt had his gun locked up some no one could get hurt. Matt is a very hard worker, and a kind person to all he meets. Matt always has his guns double locked and in a hard case to insure safety. The fight that occurred was only in self defense, as he was attacked at 3 o’clock in the morning after waking up his girl friend with the TV, which made her mad/violent. This is the Vineyard. When a minnow is caught in vineyard haven, by the time you get to Edgartown ,everyone want to see the Great White Shark that was Caught……. There is no Great White Shark here…. just a Minnow.

    1. I’m sorry Stephen, but you are a donkey. Worry about your own open case that involves a firearm and try not to portray yourself as an “Ignorant Internet lawyer.”

      Can you read? Gamache obviously isn’t properly licensed if he’s getting charged with illegal possession of 24 different firearms.

      And what’s the explanation for him having an explosive? Does he participate in the “Explosive Toss” at the Rod & Gun Club? Give me a break…

    2. Well fishing with a bomb isnt giving the fish much of a chance. Use a rod and reel like the rest of us. The guns are his there is some amendment that protects our rights to own them. Just a domestic situation caused by him turning on the tv at 3 in the morning. Id be pretty irritated too.

    3. I’m not aware of any state that allows fishing with explosives. (Altough Vermont allows shooting fish with any legally owned gun.) Also black powder isn’t used for reloading skeet loads unless you are shooting antique shotguns.

    4. Well, the guy is held on $250k bail, so I would say they’re treating this more like a shark than a minnow. And if he was so severely assaulted that he had to head butt her than he should have called 911 himself.

    5. He was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, either he isnt licensed or his weapons were unlocked. Either way its not a responsible way to be a gun owner or member of the Rod & Gun Club.
      In your words he had a small fishing bomb. Repeat that to yourself a few times and see if it sounds like a responsible and safe thing. I am aware of a few people who have had “small bombs” that are now labelled terrorists and in prison or dead. I’m not saying this man had any unsavory intentions but what would happen if someone who had such intentions stole his “small fishing bomb”?

    6. So testifying online that he had an explosive device is helping your friend how?
      Weren’t you just in the paper over a hunting incident?

    7. it is illegal to have an explosive device aka bomb. even if it’s used to stun fish

    8. if you are correct, and he uses bombs to fish, that should be reason enough to throw him in jail for a few years..
      Talk about being environmentally clueless.

  4. I wish the Times would be more tolerant concerning our comments and views when we are on the other side of them.

  5. First of all i am an acquaintance of Matts. I sincerely hope that this is blown out of proportion by the times and that it will be made clear as things come to light. I am not condoning what happened but know Matt to be a good person. Vineyard 101 there is nothing in this article that says he was married or considering blowing anyone up. That is ridiculous! Jamespi3 this man served in our country’s military and served to protect you and I. he has fought and deserves the right he has defended to own firearms.

    1. Poor choice of words to use the phrase “blown out of proportion” in reference to an incident where an explosive device was found.

      1. Unfortuneatly these days even a fire cracker is considered an explosive device. Just posessing one can jepardize the legality of your guns. Just like getting caught with drugs and guns.

    2. so you think the Iraq and /or Afghan wars were fought to defend the rights of people in America to own guns ?
      Good thing we got Saddam and the taliban out of power, or they would have all come here and got our guns..
      But I guess the greatest defender of the right to own guns was Paul Revere, who rode all night to warn the British not to take our guns..
      I by the way, am a veteran, and I am insulted that you think Americans are dying in the desert so you can have guns.

  6. The man is a hunter. That is why he has the guns. Im sure they are all legal. Before the Times convicts this man they should get their facts straight first. Its not illigal to have guns for hunting, bullets or black powder ffor hunting. So bacically the guy had an argument with the woman and it got out of hand. Id say 1/4 million dollar bail for a domestic case is a bit excessive!

    1. Was the explosive legal? Maybe that’s why it’s a $250,000 bail. He also has multiple entries on his criminal record.

  7. So it takes two days for the bomb squad to get over here to check on a possible explosive? Wow, and I thought “Island” time was bad.

    On a positive note it’s good that no one was seriously injured.
    Good job by the police!

  8. I was Matt’s roommate for a year about 8-9 years ago. He didn’t seem to have a violent bone in his body. I’m sure the guns were for hunting and I’m also sure the “explsosives” were not meant to harm any person. But if he hurt his girlfriend who I guess doesn’t want to be named, I’ll come up there and pay him a visit. I’m not esure how he is considered a Maine resident as he owns a house in VH and has lived on the Vineyard for years. Very, Very Strange.

  9. Massachusetts law chapter 140, section 131 part i, prohibits anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime, as defined in section 121, from owing a firearm. An assault conviction is considered a violent crime under section 121. He was convicted of assault in Roxburry in 2000 which means he is not legally allowed to own a firearm in Massachusetts. If it actually is an unlicensed explosive device, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in Massachusetts for possession of one, no matter what his intended use for it was. I assume the bail is set so high because these are very serious charges that come with serious jail time if convicted. Not to mention the alleged attempted murder charge.

    1. Little by little our right to guns will be taken,first by tightening up laws to own one,if you have a record,go to a counselor ,threaten anyone or just to call police to your home asking for trouble,your children will be asked somewhere are there guns were you live,this is all very disturbing that in my life time police will be someday be the only ones with guns,hopefully police departments will rebel and fight what is going now in our country,my Dad sad never ever let someone take your guns a lot of men including him fought for the right.God bless our country and our right to bear arms…

      1. Bob, I’m not quite sure you understand the law. You 100% have the right to own a gun in Massachusetts if you have a criminal record, go to a counselor or have threatened someone. None of these things can make you loose your right to gun ownership. You loose your right due to a violent crime conviction, major drug conviction etc… This guy was convicted of Violent assault and received a 2 year sentence for it in 2000. His right to own a gun in Massachusetts is no longer valid. I believe in the second amendment but also firmly believe that people convicted of violent assault should not be allowed to keep guns. I think with gun ownership comes with real responsibility and feel better about a world where convicted violent felons are not allowed to own guns.

        1. Your wrong on criminal record,if you are going to be charged with a crime and arrested at your home police will ask you if you have any guns weapons at your residence,next question do you mind if we remove them with your permission,if no they will get a search warrant.i know of 3 cases this has happened on island.when you go to court and let’s say your not guilty and no probation given out you try to recover your guns at police station threw the Chief it is up to him if he feels that you would not harm your self or someone else,then if he says no I believe you can now go to a hearing in Boston and see if you can recover them.lets say if this young man called and reported a assault he new that his guns would be removed,I’m glad you believe in the second amendment ,like many who do not own a gun and have not had to go threw the process of finger printing and asked why do you want a gun permit.Tell me you feel save knowing that you have only minutes to save your family from a intruder or you can wait for police that will take up to five minutes to arrive, I feel save that the guy at more door doesn’t now that I have a gun pointed at him.Your believes on making more laws will not make any one safer in this country.You would like just the police to have guns.

          1. The SS was the P.D. for the German people,how soon we
            forget,those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it .
            Your children will pay for it sadly.

        2. In mass if the chief of police does not like you for ANY REASON he can refuse you you a permit and take and sell
          your guns and ammo !

          1. At least I’m man enough to put my name here !
            I have a name for what you said about me it’s called SLANDER !
            I’D match wits with you but, I DON”T FIGHT UNARMED PEOPLE !

          2. what are you talking about.. my name is don. your name is “J” I have put it up here many times before.. I am Don Keller– live in vineyard haven. Look me up on the tax records and come over for a visit some time.. just leave your gun at home…
            You can post any thing you want, even if it is a total lie.. and you did.. and you know it.. Your post is a total bold faced lie..
            And I can call you a lyre because you are lying.. pretty simple. You lie, I call you a lyre– no slander– Only problem is that the censor here wants everyone to play nice, and he will delete me, even though you are lying and I am not.

          3. sorry, I went off the deep end and forgot to address the nut case troll alert comment. which are you offended by ? Nut case or troll ?

      2. I am a gun owner who firmly believes in the right to own firearms. I also firmly believe that there are people who should not be allowed to posses firearms because of their past actions. Where that line is drawn is the point of contention. For example, if the marathon bomber is one day released, should he be allowed to legally own a firearm?

        1. Mike, this is exactly how I feel. I know everyone has an opinion but as a gun owner, I think the line is pretty good where it is now. Get convicted of a violent crime, no more guns for you. I’m not worried that the police or the king of England or Obama is going to come take my shotgun. It’s just not going to happen. I am licensed and have never been charged with a violent or drug related crime, let alone convicted of one. I don’t plan on it ever happening either. I’m far more concerned with violent criminals owning guns than I am with a little additional regulation on the rest of us law abiding gun owners.

          1. I think that the majority of gun owners believe that the line should fall somewhere close to where it is now. The laws are not created with the assumption that they will prevent 100% of the actions they legislate but lawmakers do expect that it will make a measurable difference. No one believes that one day criminals will stop acquiring guns because of these laws, but the laws will stop some of them. Maybe that is enough to save the life of a stranger, relative or child. I agree that MA has some of the strictest gun laws in the country but I don’t feel that unfairly affects my ownership of guns. I’m ok with a 10 round maximum, when I can no longer hit a deer with less than 10 rounds I’ll stop hunting. I usually reload between deer anyway. I also don’t need a fully automatic weapon to shoot a deer.
            I understand the allure of these weapons for some people. Again we arrive at where to draw the line.

        2. Yes,and I firmly believe in the right to own a hammer,Look up deaths by guns versus hammers,time to regulate hammers knifes that you own,Mass. As of this month is going to pass how many you can buy in one year like I said little by little.if it makes everyone feel good and safer with new regulations so be it,but in my world you are all living in a fantasy land if you think it’s going to keep criminals from getting guns ,the damage to our rights falls back to our rights being lost.As you know mass.has the toughest regs.in the country along with Chicago check there murder rates by guns.My point is all the regs.to stop bad guys from getting guns is a fantasy don’t fall for it because we will loose.

          1. Also one other thought is a lot of people feel we are criminals all ready for owning one as it is,think about the for your future gun ownership and not being a violent criminal .

          2. like what ? what laws would you like to have enforced that we are not enforcing ?

          3. perhaps we can discuss that when we get closer to election day. Think I will pass on the bait today.

          4. wow – talk about cherry picking statistics.. you are correct– in 2011 –323 murders with “hammers and clubs” you are lumping hammers and clubs together, so immediately your statistic is off –perhaps only a few were actually hammers and the rest were clubs.–(any blunt instrument ) .
            You also didn’t mention that more people are murdered with hands and feet than hammers and clubs– almost 75% more in fact.
            but you know, the debate about regulating guns is not focused on rifles.. That’s because people hunt with rifles, and the statistics show that rifle owners are in fact very responsible.
            The regulations are about assault weapons and hand guns..
            Just with hand guns— 6220 murders in 2011..
            8,583 murders with all guns..
            remember , that does not include accidents.. which is in the thousands, many of them children.
            I couldn’t find anyone who had accidently killed themselves with a hammer.
            I can’t believe you actually wrote that, and I am responding..

          5. dondondon12 did you look up who did the murdering? and upon whom? If you do look it up you will see that take away guns and only the thugs will have them. the accidents issue is a red herring. we will always have accidents as with cars.Many countries have more guns per capita than we do but we have the crime rate and its not due to guns but due to demographics,ethnicity,culture.

          6. you should look up your information before you spout completely untrue statements.. U.S. ranks number one — check it out —# 1 –first in gun ownership per capita.. by a looooong way.
            It’s about the only thing we are number one in these days..
            Of course we will always have accidents.. Not many accidental deaths by hammer though, which is the red herring that you decided to try to hide the elephant in the room with.
            By the way, rather than regulate hammers , which may possibly account for 1/2 of 1% of murders, lets stick to regulating the item that is used 67% of the time to kill someone.
            the only countries that top us on actual murder numbers by gun are south American countries that are fighting major drug wars to see who can supply the most drugs to the U.S. ( we rank 8th in the world on drug addiction per capita )

          7. Your statistics dondondon12 are only for small handguns. Mine is for all guns. The IPCC even claims there has been no warming for 15 years. I don’t read gum wrappers.

          8. Read the damn think for petes sake. Its a small arms survey and mentions small guns divided by the population. Read it. As for the 15 year hiatus, I don’t know what you are reading. Even the scientists you mention in the past are baffled by the hiatus but simply say its not long enough to draw any conclusions.

          9. I don’t know what you think small arms are, but Merriam Webster has a related words list for the term “small arms” :

            “Related Words derringer, forty-five (or .45), gat [slang], handgun, pistol, revolver, rod [slang], roscoe [slang], sidearm, six-gun, six-shooter, zip gun; self-loader, semiautomatic; blunderbuss, breechloader, culverin, fieldpiece, firelock, flintlock, harquebus (or arquebus), matchlock, musket, rifle, shotgun, smoothbore, twenty-two (or .22); AK-47, assault rifle, assault weapon, automatic, carbine, machine gun, machine pistol, repeater, submachine gun, tommy gun; spear gun.”
            They don’t mention bazookas or rpgs in this list because they are not small arms.. And yes, I do want the government to take away your shoulder fired surface to air missile.. But not your small arms — please note that “small arms” does not mean things you can put in your pocket, but does include ak-47’s and assault weapons..

          10. Small arms as defined by the military are calibers .50 BMG and smaller. So a M2HB Browning .50 cal. machine gun weighing in at ~128 pounds including the tri-pod is considered a small arm.

          11. On climate change, I am reading the report from the organization that you claimed says there has been no warming over the last 15 years. That is the IPCC summary to policymakers, of their 2013 report on climate change. I am directly quoting from page 5 of their report. Remember, the organization that you directed me to ?
            so which scientist have I mentioned in the past that are “baffled” about your made up hiatus? Perhaps they are baffled , as am I, as to how seemingly intelligent people can ignore the overwhelming scientific evidence of thousands of climate scientist, and believe chain letters that likely originated in the offices of oil companies.

          12. I went to the most recent ipcc report, since you brought them up.

            You only have to go to page 5 to read this

            “Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850 (see Figure SPM.1). In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years (medium confidence). {2.4, 5.3}.

            If you read further down that page, it concludes that due to a natural cycle of el Niño, the RATE OF INCREASE in global temperatures has slowed, but clearly still rising. The cause of this is also clearly temporary.

            Picking that relatively insignificant point and citing it as proof , is like comparing the total number of people who get murdered by all blunt objects- bats, tire irons, 2 by 4,s gun butts, etc.,– pick one item in that category without having any idea how many people were actually killed with that one object, and comparing it to one specific type of firearm, that virtually everyone agrees everyone should be able to own. (with exceptions for mental illness and a few other things)

            And you don’t have to tell me, I already know that Al Gore has a bigger house than me.


      3. Just wait for Dr. Murthy; Obama’s latest nominee for surgon general. Your Dr. and your kids will be reporting on gun owners.

    2. Just like the mandatory 1 year in jail HA !
      And mandatory 20 years for selling and distributing heroin near a school.

  10. so what’s worse, beating up your girlfriend or having a bomb or beating up your pgirlfriend with a bomb in the house?