The son of Massachusetts State Police superintendent Christopher Mason is facing possible criminal charges after he was allegedly found drunk in his car with four guns, according to someone with firsthand knowledge of the case.
Reid Mason, a firefighter on Cape Cod, had been at a local gun shooting range with other firefighters in Barnstable on Feb. 28. Then the group went to a Hyannis restaurant, the 19th Hole Tavern, to eat and drink, the person with direct knowledge said.
He allegedly became inebriated and was discovered in his car around 100 feet from the restaurant, multiple sources said. Witnesses called Barnstable police when they saw Mason half in and half out of the car, according to someone who had the police report read to them.
The guns were not loaded, multiple people said, and the car was not running. Had the keys been in the ignition, he could also be facing operating under the influence charges.
Barnstable police did not submit a report on the incident to Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe until last week, fueling speculation that the case had disappeared as a favor to Colonel Mason, who worked in O’Keefe’s office for years. The police report still has not been released to the public.
Asked about Reid Mason’s case, O’Keefe released a statement that did not mention him by name, saying only that O’Keefe had asked police to apply for a hearing to determine whether there should be criminal charges for improper storage of weapons from the case.
“Until and unless [a hearing] occurs, it is inappropriate for my office to identify the subject” of the Feb. 28 incident, O’Keefe’s said.
A spokesman for Barnstable police chief Matthew Sonnabend said only that the department “is aware of the public interest regarding a recent encounter with a member of our community.” The spokesman, Lieutenant Mark Mellyn, said police are working to “make sure that the appropriate course of action is taken,” but could say nothing further.
Reid Mason as well as the state police declined comment.
However, the fire chief in Truro, where Reid Mason works, confirmed that his department is looking into allegations against the younger Mason.
“We are aware of the allegations and we’re looking into them,” said Fire Chief Timothy Collins. “We hired him recently. He’s a good employee. He’s young and in paramedic school and slated to attend the fire academy.”
It is a misdemeanor in Massachusetts to travel with weapons that are not in the control of the driver, which usually means either in stored containers or with safety devices such as tamper-resistant locks.
The Barnstable police suspended Reid Mason’s license to carry firearms immediately after the incident and took possession of four guns, the source with direct knowledge said. Police recovered a fifth weapon — a shotgun — at Mason’s home, according to the person who had the police report read to them. That, too, was seized by police.
Barnstable police this week applied for the hearing that O’Keefe recommended. At the closed door session, a magistrate will decide whether there was enough evidence to charge Reid Mason. No hearing has been scheduled yet, according to the clerk’s office.
Rumors about the incident have been circulating for weeks. Troopers, current and former, asked whether Colonel Mason interceded to help his son and whether he got special treatment. No one has come forward to say the state police superintendent did anything improper.
Colonel Mason, a Barnstable native, was named to lead the state’s largest police force in 2019, after a distinguished career on the Cape. He worked in O’Keefe’s office for years, investigating the sensational murder of Christa Worthington, a fashion writer, who was found dead in her Truro home in 2002.
Colonel Mason inherited a state police force that had been racked by multiple scandals, including widespread abuse of overtime that has led to discipline of dozens of troopers. In recent months, Colonel Mason has clashed with some rank and file troopers for requiring they be vaccinated against COVID. A dozen officers were fired last month for refusing a COVID shot.
Under state law, someone with a license to carry a firearm may transport weapons in their car as long as they have control over the weapon — for example, if the gun is sitting beside them or the gun is stored in the trunk. If Mason was intoxicated, however, the clerk magistrate may determine he did not have the weapons under his control, according to someone familiar with the case.
Conviction for improper storage of weapons carries a fine of between $1,000 and $7,500, and imprisonment for up to 1.5 years.
Laura Crimaldi of the Globe staff contributed to this report.
Andrea Estes can be reached at email@example.com.