Police arrest Edgartown man after standoff
A potentially explosive standoff between an Edgartown man and members of the Martha's Vineyard tactical response team ended peacefully last Thursday. Police ringed the house and watched as the man brandished what appeared to be a pistol that turned out to be a pellet gun,.
Police arrested Arthur Scott Smith, 38, of Edgartown in the afternoon of October 29, following two tense hours, during which Mr. Smith held the pellet gun and asked police to shoot him.
Mr. Smith had recently rented a room in the house owned by Robert Brabyn of Edgartown. Following the arrest of Mr. Smith, police found a collection of weapons that included rifles and a loaded shotgun, that Mr. Brabyn, who has no firearms license, kept inside his locked bedroom.
"We were extremely lucky," Edgartown police sergeant Ken Johnson said.
At noon Thursday, Edgartown Police responded to a report of a suspicious male with a weapon at 105 Whalers Walk. When officers arrived, they found Mr. Smith holding a weapon inside the house. He told police officers, "I have a gun, go ahead and shoot me," according to police.
The tactical response team, an Island-wide police unit trained for emergencies like this one, responded to the house in the Edgartown Meadows subdivision. Police closed the subdivision while they tried to resolve the situation.
"During the standoff, Mr. Smith exited the home several times brandishing what appeared to be a black, long barreled pistol and pointed it in the direction of police," a police press release said.
Sergeant Ken Johnson told The Times that Mr. Smith was despondent and had apparently been drinking heavily prior to that Thursday afternoon.
Eventually, Mr. Smith requested cigarettes, and police were able to convince him to come out of the house. Police placed the cigarettes on the back of a police cruiser and convinced Mr. Smith to place his weapon on the ground. When Mr. Smith reached for the cigarettes police subdued him.
Edgartown police arrested Mr. Smith on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and disorderly conduct. He was later transported to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital for a medical evaluation. Late Friday, the court released Mr. Smith on personal recognizance, so he could be admitted to a treatment facility.
During the course of the investigation that followed the arrest of Mr. Smith, police asked Mr. Brabyn if there were other weapons in the house, and he said yes, according to Sergeant Johnson.
Police found a Remington 30-06 rifle, a Winchester 22 caliber rifle, a Winchester 12-gauge shotgun, a Springfield 12-gauge shotgun, a Remington 12-gauge shotgun, a Ruger black powder rifle, and two pellet guns. Most of the weapons were in a closet, but a loaded shotgun was leaning in the corner by Mr. Brabyn's bed, police said.
Because Mr. Brabyn is a level-two registered sex offender, dating from a 1987 conviction in California, he is legally prohibited in Massachusetts from owning or possessing firearms.
"The guns were locked in his bedroom and apparently, and lucky for us, Smith was unaware of their presence in the house," Sergeant Johnson said. "We are extremely lucky that he was unaware there was a 30-06 also in the house. Although it wasn't loaded, there was ammo for it, and it could have been really bad."
Police will seek charges against Mr. Brabyn for possession of firearms and ammunition without a license. Sergeant Johnson said Mr. Brabyn has been very cooperative.
In a telephone conversation Friday, Mr. Brabyn told The Times he had rented a room to Mr. Smith about two weeks earlier. Mr. Brabyn told The Times that after Mr. Smith moved in, he had become depressed and begun drinking. "He just, I guess, went over the edge," Mr. Brabyn said.
Mr. Brabyn praised police for their quick action during the Thursday incident. "They did a great job, very professional," he said.