Fire lieutenant faces felony weapons charges

Edgartown firefighter, former O.B. employee allegedly kept high capacity magazines at home.

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A former Oak Bluffs local building inspector faces two felony weapons counts after Edgartown Police allegedly found illegal high capacity magazines in a safe at his house. - rich Saltzberg

An Edgartown fire lieutenant and former Oak Bluffs building inspector faces two counts of unlawful possession of a high-capacity feeding device after Edgartown Police allegedly discovered 30-round AR-15 magazines in a safe at an Edgartown residence. The magazines are illegal under Massachusetts law. The magazines allegedly belong to Raphael Magri, and were found with five firearms, bullets, and other magazines that he legally possessed.

Magri’s arraignment on the gun charges is scheduled for Nov. 15. Magri, who appeared eager to tell his side of the story, made and canceled several interview appointments with The Times over the past three days.

Magri was employed as the local building inspector for Oak Bluffs, but resigned, according to Brian Packish, chairman of the Oak Bluffs selectmen. Packish declined to give a reason for Magri’s resignation. Assistant town administrator Wendy Brough said Magri submitted his resignation on Sept. 6, and the town accepted it on Oct. 3 — 15 days after his weapons were seized by police. Magri’s annual salary was $73,593, according to town administrator Robert Whritenour. Brough also declined to give a reason for his resignation. Magri is also an Edgartown EMT and a ladder company lieutenant. Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty said Magri’s status as a volunteer firefighter remains unchanged, though the town is “looking into the situation” based on the charges. 

The magazines were discovered based on allegations Magri was considered a danger to himself. 

On Sept. 17, Oak Bluffs Police received notice from Massachusetts State Police that Magri might be a danger to himself and might be armed, according to a police report. Oak Bluffs Police Chief Erik Blake and Sgt. Michael Marchand visited Magri at Oak Bluffs town hall, took a .380 pistol that he had in his possession away from him, and explained to him why they were there, according to the report. Magri subsequently volunteered to be transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the report states. Police records indicate the pistol in Magri’s possession was lawfully carried. 

Edgartown Police, upon learning Magri was allegedly the subject of an involuntary mental health commitment and that he might be a danger to himself, moved to suspend his concealed-carry license and his firearms identification (FID) card. At a firearms suitability hearing on Sept. 27, Judge Edward Lynch upheld the suspension of Magri’s carry license and FID card. Judge Lynch noted Magri did not contest the suspension, court records indicate. Oak Bluffs Police put Edgartown Police in contact with Magri’s wife in order to deal with guns and ammunition he stored at home in a “large biometric safe,” according to a police report. 

Edgartown Police Sgt. Joel DeRoche was unable to open the safe at the Magri residence, and “the entire safe and its contents were taken into safekeeping and removed from the house,” a report states. Another Edgartown Police officer secured the .380 pistol Magri had when Oak Bluffs Police removed him from town hall, and brought it back to Edgartown, according to court records.

Sgt. DeRoche eventually located an override key after conferring with Magri, and accessed the safe, according to a report. 

Edgartown Police seized a .45 pistol, a .357 revolver, a “compliant” AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun, a .17 rifle, and sundry ammunition and magazines from the safe.

“While inventorying Raphael’s ammunition, I discovered two 30-round ‘hi-capacity’ AR-15 ammunition magazines inside a small green ammo storage can,” Sgt. DeRoche wrote in a report on Sept. 25. “The magazines were loaded, and both had the date of manufacture (so-called date code) stamped on them. One of the stamps read, ‘04/08’ (April 2008), the other stamp read, ‘10-08’ (October 2008). Both magazines were placed into evidence,” DeRoche wrote.

Records at the Duke County Registry of Deeds indicate Magri has a $66,800 federal lien against his Edgartown home and a $11,700 lien from the commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Attorney Tim Moriarty represented Magri at the time of his suitability hearing, court records indicate. Moriarty did not return calls seeking comment. 

34 COMMENTS

  1. Hmmmm, makes me wonder who would have turned him as a “danger to himself” and was it a real concern? or just trying to make trouble?

      • The article makes it sound like he WAS an otherwise responsible gun owner, after all his weapons were seized because he was “a danger to himself”, not just because he owned them. He was permitted to own everything he had, except for the two hi-cap mags. If he wasn’t deemed to be a threat to himself(and therefore us), nobody would be any wiser to what he had in his safe right now. His biggest mistake was possessing two illegal items, not the whole collection. Now he’ll never get them back, whereas if everything he had was legal, he could possibly regain possession if he could prove his alleged mental issues were resolved. The point of the commenters is the context under which his personal property was seized, which runs a pretty close parallel to Mr. Nichols premature seizure by the authorities. There is not enough detail in the article as to why this gentleman drew so much attention to himself to have this happen, but even if everything he owned really was legal, perhaps the police did intervene at the right time in order to avert disaster. If someone is having some personal issues, it really doesn’t matter if he owned one 30 rd mag or three 10 rounders. Something tragic still could’ve happened.

  2. Home searched, property seized, charges filed, all “for his own good”.

    I hope people are starting to see that we’re living in a police state on this island.

    FIGHT. BACK.

    • Bart– you seem to have a problem with police seizing illegal weapons. Keep in mind they are not taking weapons from a “law abiding gun owner”.
      An illegal weapon is an illegal weapon.. Would you be worried about the “police state” if they confiscated illegal weapons from a gang of “illegal aliens”?

  3. Same story different town. What town on this little island is next. Tisbury and oak bluffs down, 4 to go.

  4. Here we have the perfect balance of right and left philosophies coming together. We have a person who is the possession of a illegal weapons. Right wingers should be happy that someone who is breaking the law has been busted, and is facing felony charges. After all, it’s all about the “law abiding gun owners”. This particular person is not abiding by the law, and should be prosecuted, right ?
    The “lefties” should be happy that an ar-15 with high capacity magazines are being taken away from anyone.

      • bart–you do realize that our civilization is founded on the rule of law, right ?
        And we are talking about weapons that are capable of killing a large number of people in a matter of seconds. We know that because people use them for that purpose on a regular basis.

      • Take out “gun” from your statement and substitute any other type of law:

        Massachusetts _______ laws are unjust, thus, their violation is to be admired and emulated. Don’t you feel silly now?

      • Bart Gee, can you honestly say you would feel the same if someone you love were murdered with an illegal weapon? I doubt anyone can make that claim and mean it. Maybe you should show some respect for the lives lost to violent crime, some at the hands of people doing exactly what you’ve suggested.

    • Dondondon is correct. Illegal guns should be taken away and I have no problem with assault weapons taken away. Of all gun violence in the USA, 61 percent is for suicides. I am not going to take away normal guns from the majority of people who are law abiding. I would better monitor guns for the mentally unstable.

      • Andrew– we are in agreement. I think the great majority of people who want gun control do not hate the constitution or America, and want some laws that take reasonable steps to mitigate the threat of random attacks on innocent people. Red flag laws directly address the problem of the mentally unstable, but some people seem to feel that any law is “unjust”.

  5. I’m certain that Edgartown PD would have handled this event as properly as they did without any “red flag” laws. They made the right call. Well done. From the sounds of it, this was a guy who definitely needed – perhaps wanted? – an intervention. However, as we saw saw with Steve Nichols last week, the red flag statute does leave doors open for due process and Constitutional rights to be trampled on… but, I bet most of those on the job out here totally get that. And, we all get that, in the grand scheme, whatever it takes to be safe and not sorry is the common sentiment. Let’s just hope due process is upheld in the future, as it clearly seems to have been by EPD in this instance. Unfortunately, however, due process was equally as clearly not upheld in Tisbury last week with Mr Nichols… which revealed not so much bad judgement, as it did a bad law.

  6. This is just the tip of the iceberg. When you create ways to violate someone’s constitutional rights (illegal search and seizure) for one’s own protection, you open the floodgates to tossing aside more constitutional rights. Freedom of speech is already under fire. This is the long slippery slope to communism, kids.

  7. Oak Bluffs police went to Magri, explained why they were there and confiscated his weapon. Meanwhile, Edgartown police moved to suspend his license to carry,which was upheld by a judge. I hope Tisbury is paying attention to the right way to handle a situation like this.

  8. I’m just curious. How much of an amassed deadly arsenal, which includs illegal AR-15 magazines, is enough to make a man feel like a man?

  9. Did the police have a properly authorized search warrant to seize a locked safe? Or did they seek (coerce) “permission” from a person who was already of alleged diminished capacity? I would be getting that evidence suppressed immediately.
    Further, it sounds to me like Sgt DeRoche follows the same Constitutional playbook as the TPD, who seized Mr Nichols gun.

    • Not likely. Read up on what’s going on in other states with these abhorrent ‘Red Flag’ laws. A law-abiding citizen is targeted, his home visited by armed constabulary, his family terrorized, his dog killed, and his property seized through a warrantless search, all through the magic power of ‘a letter from the Police Chief’ without any semblance of due process.

      Intolerable.

      • bart– Read up on what’s going on in other states with these reasonable ‘Red Flag’ laws. Weapons seized after someone reported concerns about social media post of individuals threatening schools, malls and other places.
        2 a rights advocates want better focus on mental health, but block every initiative to do something. And just for the record here, the person who is the subject of this article is not “a law abiding citizen”. I am not saying he is a bad person, or has not contributed to the community. But, he was not abiding by the law.

        • dondondon12, I think what Bart Gee has done extensive reading on and now finds the present situation “intolerable”, is the CONSTITUTION.
          This man is innocent until proven guilty. At present moment, he is presumed to be law abiding.
          Jackie makes an excellent point, Massachusetts law enforcement, like the present case, has long torn up the Constitution.
          They can call them “Red Flag Laws”, or anything else, but none of them can supersede the Constitution.

  10. Building inspector, EMT, and ladder company lieutenant. These are all great accomplishments not to be sneezed at. I hope he gets the help he needs and gets back on track we need people like this.

  11. I am truly sorry for Raphael’s troubles.
    I wish him the best of luck.
    There but for the grace of G-d, go I.

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