BOSTON, June 26, 2012—A Quincy man has been criminally charged for allegedly using the bushes of a Boston playground to stash his loaded handgun – which is now missing, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
JOHN T. MURRETT (D.O.B. 6/6/86) was arraigned in the Boston Municipal Court this morning on one count of improper storage of a firearm. Prosecutors recommended bail of $500 and Judge Annette Forde released him on his own recognizance.
The charge, Conley said, stems from an incident in Boston’s Theater District on Saturday night, when Murrett allegedly tried to enter Club Royale with his legally-owned and properly licensed Ruger LC9 semiautomatic handgun. Club security personnel patted him down and found the firearm; Murett allegedly presented his valid license to carry, issued out of the City of Quincy, but the staffers denied him access because the establishment forbids firearms on the premises.
At this point, Murrett allegedly walked a few blocks north on Tremont Street and placed the firearm under a bush at a nearby playground, then returned to the club and was allowed inside.
About three hours later, just after 1:30 Sunday morning, Murrett returned to the front door and asked the security personnel if anyone had turned in a firearm. He allegedly stated to the staff that it had been stolen from his car. When club personnel called Boston Police, however, Murrett allegedly told them that he had in fact hidden it in the bushes and that it was no longer there.
“I always carry a firearm everywhere I go,” Murrett allegedly said when asked why he’d tried to bring a handgun into the nightclub. Murrett also allegedly told the officers that the firearm was loaded with “seven bullets in the mag and one in the chamber” when he last saw it.
Boston Police immediately began searching the area for the firearm but were unsuccessful in those efforts. They placed Murrett under arrest and seized his license to carry the firearm.
“If the facts as we understand them are true, this was an act of staggering irresponsibility,” Conley said. “It means there’s yet another loaded gun on the streets of Boston, ready to be used in a robbery, a shooting, or worse. If anyone knows the whereabouts of that firearm, or any other illegal firearm, we urge them to call police and report it.”
Under Chapter 140, Section 131L, of the Massachusetts General Laws, all firearms must be stored “in a locked container or equipped with a tamper-resistant mechanical lock or other safety device, properly engaged so as to render such weapon inoperable by any person other than the owner or other lawfully authorized user.” The statute carries up to a year behind bars and/or up to $5,000.
The statute also mandates that aviolation “shall be evidence of wanton or reckless conduct in any criminal or civil proceeding if a person under the age of 18 who was not a trespasser or was a foreseeable trespasser acquired access to a weapon, unless such person possessed a valid firearm identification card … and was permitted by law to possess such weapon, and such access results in the personal injury to or the death of any person.”
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.