Standoff with group of armed men shuts down part of I-95 in Massachusetts

A group of heavily-armed men were engaged in an ongoing stand-off on Saturday with Massachusetts police, prompting shelter-in-place orders in some areas and sparking massive delays on the holiday weekend as a portion of Interstate 95 remained shut down.

The standoff began around 2am when police noticed two cars pulled over on I-95 with hazard lights on, authorities said at a Saturday press briefing.

Between eight to 10 men were clad in military-style gear and carrying long guns and pistols, said Col Christopher Mason of Massachusetts state police.

The men refused to put down their weapons or comply with authorities’ orders, claiming to be from a group “that does not recognize our laws”, police said.

They took off into a wooded area. By mid-morning Saturday, two men had been arrested.

Officials were using negotiators to interact with the other suspects.

“Time is our ally in this and we will certainly utilize this,” Mason said.

The standoff shut down part of I-95 in Wakefield in both directions, prompting heavy traffic as people hit the road for the Fourth of July weekend.

In Massachusetts, I-95 runs from the Rhode Island line, around Boston and to the New Hampshire line. Wakefield is just east of where I-95 and I-93 meet, north of Boston.

Residents in Wakefield and nearby Reading were advised to lock their doors and shelter in place.

Wakefield police said in its statement no threats had been made but the men were considered armed and dangerous.