Boston cops said Sunday they may have foiled a gun attack on the recent Pokemon World Championships in the city.
While a gathering of Pokemon enthusiasts may seem like an unlikely target for those intent on causing untold carnage, the authorities nevertheless decided to move in after learning of threats posted on social media by the two potential attackers shortly before the competition started.
Kevin Norton, 18, and 27-year-old James Stumbo, both from Iowa and both invited to take part in the contest, had posted a message on Facebook about "killing the competition" while including a photo of two guns displayed on a car's trunk.
It may have sounded like a joke to some, but when cops made a search of the pair's car, which was parked close to where the event was being held, they uncovered a 12-gauge Remington shotgun, one DPMS Model AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife. Making matters worse for Norton and Stumbo was the fact that neither of them had permits to carry the weapons.
As a result, the two gamers were arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition, as well as other firearm-related charges.
Commenting on the incident, Superintendent Paul Fitzgerald, commander of Boston police department's Bureau of Intelligence and Analysis, said, "The BPD detectives….did a great job in the stop and prevention of a potential tragedy."
Road to arrest
According to the Daily Beast, the somewhat bizarre episode began on August 19 when Stumbo posted the gun photo to a Facebook group called "Mayhem Pokemon Crew," captioning it, "Kevin Norton and I are ready for Worlds Boston here we come!"
A member of the group wished them luck, to which Norton replied, "With killing the competition?"
When the Pokemon community saw the posts, some contacted the authorities to voice their concerns, an act that ultimately led to cops speaking to the two men as they tried to enter the Pokemon event.
According to reports, Stumbo told the cops the social media posts had been misunderstood, though the situation later became a whole lot more serious when they took a look inside his vehicle. The two suspects will be arraigned at Boston Municipal Court today.
The annual Pokemon World Championship, which brings together hundreds of players from some 30 countries as well as thousands of spectators, this year saw gamers competing for more than $500,000 in scholarship awards.