Man facing guns, bomb charges released on $20K bail

Man facing guns, bomb charges released on $20K bail

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The device seized during a search of Mr. Gamache's home was later identified by state police as a homemade explosive device. — Tisbury police report photo

Matthew Gamache, arrested March 5 on weapons, bomb, and assault charges, was released after posting $20,000 cash bail on Tuesday March 11, after a detention hearing in Edgartown District Court. The court originally set bail at $250,000.

The Cape and Island District Attorney’s office asked for the hearing, which allows a court to deny bail or set conditions before trial, based on dangerousness. To deny bail or set conditions, the court must consider any evidence of attempted use or threatened use of physical force during a felony, or that there is a a substantial risk of physical force against someone in the future.

Associate Justice Joseph I. Macy, ordered the bail reduced and set strict conditions for release.

Judge Macy ordered Mr. Gamache not to leave Martha’s Vineyard, and to check in with the probation department twice weekly. He must wear a GPS tracking device, and is restricted to his home during the hours of 7 pm to 6 am. He was ordered to remain at his new residence on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Edgartown, to stay away from the North Williams Street, Vineyard Haven home where he was living at the time of his arrest, and not to abuse drugs or alcohol.

On March 6, Mr. Gamache, 36, was arraigned on a charge of possessing a weapon of mass destruction, assault, attempted murder, and illegal possession of 24 firearms, after police responded to an early morning report of a domestic disturbance at the Vineyard Haven home. At a previous bail hearing, his attorney said Mr. Gamache has lived on the Island and operated a construction business for four years, but he listed his official residence on court documents as York, Maine.

When police confiscated the weapons from the North Williams Street home, as directed by a judge who issued an emergency restraining order to Mr. Gamache’s girlfriend, they discovered what they suspected was a homemade bomb. They also seized 42 pounds of gunpowder from a secured room, according to court records. Mr. Gamache is a well known competitive shooter who manufactures his own ammunition.

On March 6, the Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad traveled to the Island to examine and dispose of the device.

“It is my opinion that the device recovered is a homemade explosive device filled with explosive smokeless gunpowder (very likely from the containers found in the residence) and would cause a very extreme explosion when ignited by lighting the hobby fuse wick,” according to the state police bomb expert who examined the device.

It is illegal under Massachusetts state law to possess such an explosive device. If the case remains in district court, Mr. Gamache could be sentenced to up to 2.5 years in a house of correction. If he is indicted, and the case moves to Superior Court, he faces a minimum sentence of 10 years, and up to 20 years in prison.


  1. So the Times seems to be backing off from the sensationalism of the original article. Too bad the damage is done and the man has been dragged through the mud.

    1. Not at all. If you read the other paper you will see the judge deemed him dangerous. The judge also did not believe that the explosive devise was intended for fishing, which is unheard of and not used around here at all. Given this man’s prior assault convictions, he was lucky to get reduced bail, GPS tracking, curfew, geographic restrictions and stay off drugs. The man may be a known competitive shooter but now he is a well known assaulter with a criminal record to verify this. Hope he never gets his hand on a gun again.

      1. Actually, explosive devices just like this one are commonly used around here to catch menhaden for bait. Shouldn’t be, but they are.

      2. The judge did not deem him dangerous otherwise he would not have reduced his bail..had he deemed him dangerous..he would have been held for 60 days minimum no bail.

        1. Judge Macy said in court that he considers Mr Gamache dangerous. You can read it in detail in the Gazette.

      3. if he was a comeptetive shooter why doesnt he have a FID or License to carry. 24 acounts of illiegal firearms is ridiculious

  2. Looks like a three inch fire cracker we had when we were kids,we would also use this size to flush out deer in thick it’s or scrub brush,good old days.

  3. Although smokeless powder can be explosive it is generally refered to as a propellant. Unlike black powder which is considered an explosive.
    It is my opinion that if lit it will mke a loud noise with very little

    1. A State Police Bomb expert said “would cause a very extreme explosion when ignited”. I’d believe them before I believe your opinion.

  4. Bottom line don’t beat up your girlfriend and the cops don’t get called to your house and find things in your basement

    1. Reminds me of that other guy that had problems with his girlfriend and they found pipe bombs at an airport storage center.

  5. Focusing on the “bomb” for a second here.
    it’s a half cup of black powder wrapped up in duct tape.
    Now, fishing with it should get him sent to some sort of peta sensitivity classes. I mean really, you want a fish or 2, so you blow the eardrums out of every living thing within 50 yards.. That’s pretty disgusting and deserves some jail time for animal cruelty in my opinion.
    if he tried to get on a plane, we have some issues, and I can see why the authorities would have no sense of humor about it.
    But, really, a “weapon of mass destruction” worth 20 years hard time ? That’s just totally stupid on the face of it, and compares with kindergarteners getting kicked out of school because they point their finger like a gun at some other kid.
    I’m a liberal and all for gun control, but to put this guy away for 20 years because he wrapped a little gunpowder up in some duct tape is way over the top.
    You can take your bushmaster into a mall and shoot 20 people, and as long as none of them die, you will be out in 20 years..

    1. I think it’s tough to look at the bomb solely. Combine the fire cracker with allegedly hitting your spouse and people’s minds wander and it’s extrapolated to the Nth degree. IMHO, with just cause. To many things get a pass in the courts and they (the courts, judges, prosecutors) end up regretting it when it comes back in a month or years time. Remember Jerry Remy’s son for one.

    2. No, it’s more likely less than a 3 dram equivalent of smokeless powder in a cardboard tube similar to the kind found in cash register receipt paper all wrapped in duct tape with a short piece of waterproof cannon fuse. Unless it’s tied to a rock it’s useless for fishing as it would float.
      You can take your Bushmaster to the Mall. I’ll keep all my guns safe at home.
      I highly doubt (even in Ma.) anyone who shoots and wounds 20 people in a mall with a Bushmaster or any other gun would ever see freedom again.

      1. yes, you’re likely correct about that life sentence in ma. But I wouldn’t count on it– especially in some other gun friendlier states.
        But the point is, 3 drams of smokeless powder in a toilet paper tube is not a wmd. Law enforcement gets hysterical sometimes, and they fall all over each other trying to prove they are the toughest on crime.
        If he did all the things he’s charged with, then he deserves some consequences for it. But to ask the taxpayers to foot the bill to incarcerate him for 20 years and essentially ruin his life because he put a little smokeless powder in a toilet paper roll in ridiculous.

  6. Looks like he lists his residence as “York, Maine” so he can get guns. If he’s lived here for however many years, then this must be a ruse to make it easier for him to buy guns. Maine’s gun laws are a joke.

    1. He’s lived on the island for at least 7 years and has no license to cary a firearm in the state. He has a prior violent assault conviction in MA. which prohibits him from having a licensed firearm in the state.