Two men who drove from Iowa to Boston for the Pokémon World Championships were arrested Friday after seemingly threatening violence over social media against attendees of the event, according to the Boston Police Department.
Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, were arrested on several firearm-related charges. The official Pokémon site lists Kevin Norton and a James Stumbo, both from the U.S., as invitees in the “masters division” of the world championships of the Pokémon Trading Card Game.
Private security at the Hynes Convention Center, where the Championships were taking place, were also aware of the threats and stopped the two men when they attempted to enter on Thursday. Police detectives seized their car and upon delivery of a search warrant on Friday found within a 12 gauge shotgun, an AR-15 rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. They then arrested Norton and Stumbo that afternoon in Saugus, Massachusetts. The pair will be arraigned in Boston on Monday. The police released the above photo of the weapons confiscated from the car.
Although the extent of Norton and Stumbo’s threats is unclear, we discovered a post Stumbo had made on a Facebook group featuring an image of the guns seen in the Boston PD photo:
The rest of Stumbo’s posts in the Facebook group appear to be normal messages about playing Pokémon.
Stumbo claimed to police that the social media posting was taken out of context, according to the police report as cited by The Daily Beast.
Pokémon card game expert Josh “Squeaky” Marking, who has interviewed Stumbo in the past, told Kotaku he’d known the Pokemon player to a fairly reserved guy. “Every time I did an interview with him he always seemed like a chill person but he is also the type to be sarcastic and joke around.” He described Stumbo as “a self proclaimed gun enthusiast” and believed it was possible this was all a big joke. He said he hadn’t realized Stumbo and Norton were found to have guns with them in Boston until being shown a photo by Kotaku.
Said The Pokémon Company International in a statement: “Prior to the event this weekend, our community of players made us aware of a security issue. We gathered information and gave it as soon as possible to the authorities at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center who acted swiftly and spearheaded communication with the Boston Police Department. Due to quick action, the potential threat was resolved. The Pokémon Company International takes the safety of our fans seriously and will continue to ensure proper security measures are a priority.”
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