Massachusetts State Police

Mass. State Police Colonel's Son Faces Firearms Charges After February Incident

Reid Mason, son of Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason, is charged with improper firearm storage, a misdemeanor; police say he was slumped over in his vehicle, smelling of alcohol, outside the 19th Hole Tavern in Barnstable three months ago

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The son of Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason is facing criminal firearm charges after an incident in February.

Reid Mason did not comment Tuesday after Clerk Magistrate Keith McDonough found probable cause for charges of improper storage of firearms.

In court Tuesday, Barnstable Police Lt. Joe Green said officers doing a security check outside of the 19th Hole Tavern in February found the 22-year old slumped over in his vehicle, partially hanging out the driver's side door.

Reading form the report, Green said,

"While speaking with Mason, the officers were overwhelmed by a strong odor of alcoholic beverage emitting from his person," Green said, reading from the report. "His eyes were red and glassy and he has a difficult time answering questions."

Mason told the officers he did not need medical attention and that he was sleeping in his vehicle.

The officers found five unloaded guns — one semi-automatic rifle and four semi-automatic handguns — in the area of the front passenger seat, as well as two backpacks with an assortment of ammunition, according to a copy of a report submitted to the Barnstable District Court by the police department.

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Green said Mason's weapons were seized and his license to carry suspended immediately.

Another gun was seized from Mason's home four days after the initial encounter with police.

The hearing comes nearly three months later.

The application for a criminal complaint appears to have been submitted on May 6th, 2022.

Barnstable Police Chief Matthew Sonnabend defended his department amid questions of whether Mason's father's status with the Massachusetts State Police had any influence on the case.

"No one has reached out to me to attempt any influence at any level on this matter. It's been treated just like anything else, and no one else has reached out to me to ask for any favors or anything like that," Sonnabend said. "I think this matter will proceed through court as it should. This is a matter that we take seriously, but we have to treat everyone fairly."

Mason's attorney, Peter Lloyd, said his client has been suspended without pay from his employment with a local fire department.

Lloyd requested that the clerk magistrate defer his decision on the charge. That request was denied.

"As I said to the clerk, he has no record, and the police obviously had to do a background check to issue him a license, and they did, but now, based upon what's happened, it's lost, and I think any licensing authority will think twice before deciding to relicense him," Lloyd said

Lloyd did not answer questions about specifics in the case or preferential treatment, but pointed out that the clerk magistrate appointed to the case is from Lawrence.

"Oftentimes, a trial court will bring someone in from a distance because they are concerned the public has got attention and they are worried about something being done for somebody or special treatment, the questions being asked," he said.

Improper firearm storage violations are misdemeanor charges in Massachusetts.

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