Midnight gunfire ends in New Year’s Eve arrest

Brian Weston faces weapons charges. — Photo courtesy of Oak Bluffs Police Department

Oak Bluffs police arrested Brian Weston, 60, of Hampden on New Year’s Eve, and charged him with numerous gun-related offenses in what Mr. Weston claimed was a celebration of the New Year.

Shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day, Oak Bluffs police received several phone calls about possible gunshots fired in the vicinity of Second Avenue. Officer Seth Harlow was already investigating when the calls came in. “The new year had just started and I heard what I believed to be fireworks. There was a succession of loud ‘bangs,’ but I never saw any flashes of light in the sky,” he wrote in his police report. As Officer Harlow tracked the source of the disturbance, several more calls came in from residents in the area, including one saying they saw a deer that they believed had been shot.

Officer Harlow, joined in his search by officers J.J. Mendez and Dustin Shaw, was flagged down by a man who said he saw muzzle flashes coming from 29 Second Avenue, not far from the Oak Bluffs library. When the officers investigated, they found numerous spent shell casings in the front yard. Mr. Weston greeted them with a series of expletives and told them, in so many words, to leave his property.

According to the police report, Mr. Weston scuffled with officers as they tried to arrest him. It took double locked handcuffs to eventually subdue him. Mr. Weston, who police noted had a very strong odor of alcohol on his breath, remained combative as he was taken into custody. He was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace while armed, discharging a weapon within 500 feet of a building, improper storage of a firearm, and carrying a loaded firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Mr. Weston maintained that he was celebrating the New Year and that he never had any intention of hurting anyone. He also said he shot at a deer because it was damaging his garden.

A subsequent security sweep of Mr. Weston’s premises turned up 12 guns of varying caliber, 27 spent shell casings and over 1,500 rounds of ammunition. Numerous knives, including a switchblade, and handcuffs were also found.

At the request of Oak Bluffs police, Chief Jeff Farnsworth of the Hampden Police department, the issuing authority, revoked Mr. Weston’s “License to Carry” (LIC). A firearms license check of Mr. Weston revealed seven registered firearms that were not recovered by Oak Bluffs police.

Thursday morning, police went to the jail where, “Weston was cooperative and continually told us that he wanted to resolve the matter as soon as possible,” Detective Nicholas Curelli wrote in his report. Mr. Weston told police that he is a firearms collector and that the missing weapons were disassembled Russian rifles that he kept at his residence in Hampden.

Hampden police are investigating.

Mr. Weston was released from the Dukes County Jail on $1,000 bail.