The officers who took two guns from an 18-year-old man Wednesday outside a high school graduation in the South End were on Warren Avenue specifically because school administrators were worried about possible gang violence around the ceremony, according to a police report.
Authorities arrested Adonis Alvarez, 18, and seized two guns – a .22 pistol and a .357 revolver – both loaded. Alvarez was not licensed to carry either weapon. He was arraigned Thursday in Boston Municipal Court on several charges, including unlawful possession of a firearm, resisting arrest, and receipt of stolen property (one gun was reported stolen in New Hampshire in 2007, police said).
Judge Robert J. McKenna held Alvarez on $15,000 cash bail.
“We don’t know what this young man intended to do with two loaded firearms outside a high school graduation, but we can be certain that it was nothing good,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement.
Officers spotted Alvarez shortly after 7 p.m. near 90 Warren Ave., where families and graduates from McKinley Preparatory High School and McKinley South End Academy were trickling out from a combined graduation Wednesday evening, police said. According to the police report, school administrators “had previously expressed concern that the graduation ... would be bringing together rival gangs which have had a history of violence against each other.”
Boston police officers and a number of school safety officers were on hand to monitor activity around the ceremony. Authorities did not provide more information about the alleged gangs or the past incidents between them Thursday. A spokesman from Boston Public Schools declined to comment on the details of the incident because it is the subject of an open investigation.
“We are pleased that the police did move swiftly to bring a potential situation under control,” said the spokesman, Brian Ballou. He said Alvarez was most recently an active BPS student last year, according to department records.
Police reported they saw Alvarez waking with his arm pressed tight to his waist and his hand on his sweathshirt pocket. They said it looked like he was carrying something heavy, possibly a gun.
Alvarez allegedly approached a student, whispered something, and tugged on his sweatshirt pocket before walking away.
A plainclothes officer tried to speak to Alvarez, police said. When the teen realized who the officer was, he ran, according to police.
Officers grabbed Alvarez’s sweatshirt and brought him to the ground. They placed a handcuff on his arm before spotting a gun under his head, according to the police report. Alvarez allegedly yelled, “I have another one in my waist.”
The pistol had a bullet in its chamber, police said.
In court Thursday, Alvarez pled not guilty. He stood in gray sweatpants and a white t-shirt, shackles around the tops of his white sneakers. He had a long purple scrape on his right cheek from around his temple to near the corner of his mouth.
Alvarez’s attorney, Steven J. Topazio, said the wound was the result of his client’s struggle with police. He asked for a low cash bail, questioning the way authorities approached Alvarez with multiple officers.
“Although the police in this case may have played a very good hunch,” Topazio said, sometimes such tactics fail to pass “constitutional muster.”
A group of teenage boys who were in the courtroom most of the morning left quickly after Alvarez’s arraignment. One nodded across the room to Alvarez before walking out the door.
If he posts bail, Alvarez will have to wear a GPS monitor, obey a curfew, and stay away from the area where he was arrested.Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ZackSampson.