Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Robert LOPER (FIREARM WITHIN 500 FT OF DWELLING, AMMUNITION WITHOUT FID CARD, POSSESS, FIREARM WITHOUT FID CARD, POSSESS)

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On August 13, 2020 at 4:16 PM, Somerville Police received a call for a well being check at XX Woods Avenue. The caller was a man named XXXX. Mr. XXXX reported that earlier in the afternoon, his roommate, Mr. XXXX heard a “popping sound” in their apartment.

Mr. XXXX said that he was not home at the time of the event. He reported that he later came home and observed a hole in his ceiling. It should be noted that the residence is a two family dwelling. The number XX is designated to the first floor while XX is assigned to the second floor.

It should also be noted that Mr. XXXX is the owner of the residence and rents XX to a Ms. XXXX and her mother who was not home at the time of this incident. After noticing the hole in his apartment, Mr. XXXX made his way to the second floor and questioned XXXX about his discovery.

During their conversation, he observed a hole on XXXX floor in the same area as the hole in his apartment. He determined that the hole came from a bullet being fired and notified the police.

Somerville Officers Chris Collette, Mark DiFava and Eli Kim were dispatched and promptly arrived at the home to conduct a well being check on all the occupants. No injured parties were discovered inside the apartment. The Officers quickly removed the noted individuals and secured the scene.

As part of a follow up investigation, Somerville Detective Sergeants Devin Schneider, Dan Rego and I all responded to the scene. During our initial assessment, we learned that Ms. XXXX and XXXX were the only two parties present at the scene with legal standing in the apartment.

I obtained a written consent from Ms.XXXX and Mr. XXXX and searched the apartment for firearms, ammunition and any other ballistic related evidence. During the search, Sergeant Schneider located one box of 9mm caliber ammunition inside a closet located in a bedroom on the front side of the home.

It should be noted that this room belonged to Mr. XXXX. Both Ms. XXXX and Mr. XXXX denied having any knowledge regarding the ammunition and the discharging of a firearm inside the apartment.

At that time, the occupants were all seated outside, on the front steps of the home. They were later interviewed by various Somerville Officers and Detective Alan Monaco. Their statements can be found in subsequent supplemental reports filed by these officers.

As Detectives conducted the interviews, three notable individuals arrived at the home. They were identified as Robert Loper, XXXX and XXXX. Initially, all three men denied having any knowledge of the incident.

I later informed Robert Loper of the ammunition found inside his brother XXXX bedroom. Robert became visibly upset and inquired of potential legal actions that could be taken against XXXX by Somerville Police.

At that time, Sergeant Schneider informed me that he had information from Mr. XXXX roommate XXXX that he had a photo taken from his cell phone that showed Robert Loper leaving the home after the “popping sound”.

The photo showed Robert carrying a large duffel bag walking eastbound on Woods Avenue towards North Street. After learning this information, I read Robert Loper the Miranda Advisements from a card I kept in my pocket and questioned him about his involvement in the event.

During our conversation, Robert admitted to knowing more about the event and requested for his brother XXXX to not be charged with a crime. Further, he attempted to negotiate returning the firearm discharged inside the home if guarantees could be made that XXXX was not charged.

The Massachusetts State Police (MSP) Ballistics, Crime Scene Services personnel and an MSP chemist were all summoned to the scene. The latter tested Robert Loper and his brothers XXXX and XXXX for gunshot residue on their hands.

Robert later instructed his brother XXXX to contact an unidentified individual via cellular phone to return the firearm. After what seemed to be long redundant discussions, XXXX told Sergeant Rego that the gun had been returned at a location in Cambridge by the aforementioned unidentified individual.

XXXX provided detailed information regarding the location of the firearm. Sergeant Schneider later responded to said location with multiple Cambridge Police units and Somerville Officers Brian Pavao & Samir Messaoudi. As previously noted, details of their activities and the exact location of the gun can be found in their supplemental reports.

Sergeant Schneider later confirmed the recovery of the firearm. Robert then admitted that the ammunition found in XXXX bedroom and the firearm located in Cambridge were his property. He also admitted that he had accidentally discharged the weapon in XXXX living room while playing with it in the area reported by Mr. XXXX.

Robert Loper was then placed in custody and transported to Somerville Police headquarters for booking. There, he was again read the Miranda warnings and agreed to conduct an audio/video interview with Sergeant Schneider and I.

During our conversation, he admitted on video that he accidentally discharged the firearm inside of XX Woods Avenue. He also described the gun, the caliber and the ammunition found in XXXX bedroom.

It should be noted that Robert is not licensed to carry a firearm. Therefore, he was charged with Possession of Ammunition without an FID card (Ch 269/10/TT), Possession of a Firearm without an FID card (Ch269/10/G) and Discharging a Firearm Within 500 Feet of a Dwelling (Ch131/58/C).

All evidence at both scenes were processed and collected by Massachusetts State Police personnel.Pending laboratory results from the testings will later be available as evidence for prosecution.

Respectfully submitted,

Detective Jon Thermidor, Badge# 240

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