UMPD make arrest for on-campus gun possession

By Michelle Williams

A party in the Southwest area of the University of Massachusetts campus on Saturday resulted in the arrest of a local Springfield man on numerous gun related charges.

Lamont C. Thomas, 20, of Springfield, Mass., was arrested April 3 on charges of carrying a firearm on school grounds, receiving stolen property worth more than $250, carrying a firearm without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and disorderly conduct.

Thomas, who is not a student at UMass, pleaded innocent in the Eastern Hampshire District Court on Monday.

Thomas’ initial arrest was the result of a fight in which he was involved in on Saturday night on Sunset Ave. A UMass Police Department (UMPD) cadet radioed the station at 3:22 a.m., reporting that there were numerous people fighting outside of Pierpont dormitory hall.

According to UMPD Deputy Chief Patrick Archbald, the cadet and other witnesses saw Thomas involved in the fight and brandish a firearm.

Upon the arrival of two UMPD officers, Thomas fled the area, running south down Sunset Ave., requiring the officers on the scene to chase him on foot. After the officers restrained Thomas, he was arrested on the charge of disorderly conduct.

Officers did not find a weapon on him when they arrested him, though Archbald said, “We believed the gun did exist because one of our officers had seen it.”

On Sunday morning, Thomas was released on bail at 5:30 a.m. Still having not found the gun, officers were on patrol on Sunset Ave. While on patrol, the officers saw Thomas return to the area of the previous night’s fight. According to the police report, Thomas was seen searching around the bushes on the east side of the Patterson dormitory.

When approached by the officers, Thomas reportedly told the officers that he was looking for his car keys, and the officers volunteered to help search. After speaking with the officers, according to the police report, Thomas appeared nervous and uneasy.

The officers issued Thomas a trespassing notice, and told him not to return to campus. Soon after, UMPD Officer Jonathan Hall found a loaded AMT semi-automatic .22 caliber pistol, with a round loaded in the chamber, and seven more in the magazine.

After running the gun’s serial number in the National Crime Information Center’s database, the UMPD learned that the gun had previously been reported stolen 32 years ago, in Sidney, N.Y.

Thomas is scheduled to appear in the Eastern Hampshire District Court for a pretrial hearing on May 10.

Michelle Williams can be reached at [email protected]