Local leaders share concerns over repeat offenders, illegal guns after major bust

The Springfield Police Department seized 6 guns out of the hands of 5 men, all who they said are repeat offenders.
Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - The Springfield Police Department announced a major firearms bust, taking guns out of the hands of gang members.

The Springfield Police Department seized 6 guns out of the hands of 5 men, all who they said are repeat offenders. One of the firearms taken was an assault rifle, considered to be illegal in Massachusetts.

This seizure happened Saturday night around 6:50 p.m. in the area of College and Maynard Street when detectives received a tip that one of the men had a gun, violating his bail conditions.

Police said four of these men resisted arrest, leading officers into a chase.

“On a nice Saturday night, there’s children playing in the streets, there are people enjoying their yards, enjoying the weather, and next door, or across the street, or a few doors down, you have gang members running around with this kind of fire power,” Deputy Chief Steven Kent told us.

The five men arrested were 22-year-old Kahsim Wilson, 21-year-old Devon Banton, 23-year-old Semaj Hunter, 19-year-old Markendall Johnson, and 22-year-old Anas Nichols.

Police said they are all believed to be a part of the Burr Street Gang in Springfield.

Officers also said that this arrest most likely prevented violence and tragedies from taking place on city streets.

“The results of their work we don’t see,” said Captain Brian Keenan. “It’s the people who aren’t shot, it’s the mothers not going to the funeral parlor, it’s the people that are alive. This prevents an awful lot of loss of life.”

Nichols, Wilson, and Johnson were all out on bail with GPS ankle bracelets at the time of the arrest. Nichols and Wilson have open gun charges, and Banton was also out on bail.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno again called on the courts to keep repeat violent offenders behind bars.

“They shouldn’t be in my neighborhoods, threatening my residents and business community, period,” Mayor Sarno told us.

Investigators said that all of these guns were obtained illegally, either stolen, ghost guns, or the suspects paid someone to buy the weapon for them.

Many local legislators, including State Senator Eric Lesser who is also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, said Massachusetts laws need to be enforced more to prevent situations like these.

“Supporting law enforcement’s efforts, supporting the tracking and the data systems that go into that,” Senator Lesser said. “We also need to do a much better job at policing and regulating the components that go into ghost gun manufacturing, the 3-D printing components, and things like that.”

He also told Western Mass News that more federal gun laws would prevent criminals from being able to obtain these types of weapons.

“We will remain vulnerable if assault weapons, violent weapons, weapons of war, can be moved up and down I-91, up and down I-93, from states with laxer laws,” Senator Lesser said.

The Springfield Firearms Investigation Unit has already seized 84 illegal firearms this year alone.

All five men involved face numerous firearm, theft, and drug charges.