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Man accused of pointing rifle held on $500k bail

Defendant was chased by police

With lawyers at the ready, Marvin Veiga (in hospital gown) and codefendants Osvaldir Mendes (left), Daronde Bethea, and (partially hidden) Takari Elliott, were arraigned on firearms and other charges yesterday in Dorchester. Veiga is accused of pointing an assault rifle at police after a high-speed chase Saturday. With lawyers at the ready, Marvin Veiga (in hospital gown) and codefendants Osvaldir Mendes (left), Daronde Bethea, and (partially hidden) Takari Elliott, were arraigned on firearms and other charges yesterday in Dorchester. Veiga is accused of pointing an assault rifle at police after a high-speed chase Saturday. (Pat Greenhouse/ Globe Staff)
By Brian R. Ballou
Globe Staff / January 11, 2011

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A man who allegedly pointed a loaded high-powered assault rifle at police Saturday after a high-speed chase in Dorchester was ordered held yesterday on $500,000 bail as he and three codefendants were arraigned in a courtroom packed with uniformed officers.

The officers attended the arraignment as a show of support for fellow officers involved in the incident, including Officer Daniel Griffin, who authorities say shot Marvin Veiga, 21, in the leg when Veiga allegedly pointed the assault rifle at him and another officer as they chased the suspects on foot.

“But for the grace of God, there wasn’t something more serious that could have happened,’’ said Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Joseph Janezic III. He said the M-16 type assault rifle had “the potential to inflict catastrophic damage.’’

The shooting occurred after members of the Boston Police Department’s Youth Violence Strike Force received a tip about the suspects from a source, prompting police to pull over the Chrysler PT Cruiser in which they were riding late Saturday.

But the car did not stop, authorities said, alleging that the driver, Osvaldir Mendes, 23, of Dorchester, sped away, leading police on a high-speed chase before crashing on Freeport Street about 11 p.m. Veiga, Mendes, and Takari Elliott, 18, of Dorchester got out of the vehicle and ran, according to police. Another suspect, Daronde Bethea, 18, of Milton, stayed in the car.

According to a police report, Griffin noticed Veiga was carrying a rifle. The officer said he repeatedly yelled at the suspect to drop the weapon, but Veiga turned and pointed it at Griffin and another officer in pursuit.

Veiga is the brother of Manuel DaVeiga, 19, who authorities say shot himself in the head last April on a Dorchester street after exchanging gunfire with officers who were chasing him. Marvin Veiga had been arrested four months before his brother died, and was charged with possessing a loaded 9mm handgun after a state trooper stopped the car in which he was riding and found the firearm in his backpack. A judge had granted a motion by Veiga’s attorney to suppress the evidence because there was no probable cause to search the vehicle, which was stopped because it had tinted windows. Prosecutors are appealing the decision. Last November, Veiga’s bail in that case was reduced from $30,000 to $5,000, which he posted, and he was released.

In connection with Saturday’s incident, Bethea and Elliott were ordered held on $100,000 cash bail and Mendes was ordered held on $150,000 cash bail. Veiga faces assault with a deadly weapon and a host of firearms charges. Mendes faces motor vehicle offenses and firearm charges, and Bethea and Elliott face resisting arrest and firearms charges. All four are due back in court on Jan. 26 for a probable cause hearing.

Relatives and friends of the defendants were at the arraignment. “I know they’re going to make him out to be a monster, but he’s not a bad person,’’ Onilda DaSilva said of Bethea, her son. “I don’t know what happened last Saturday because I wasn’t there, but I do know that my son isn’t bad and would not do anything to harm anyone.’’

A woman who was standing next to DaSilva as she spoke, and who identified herself as Bethea’s girlfriend, said she spoke with him by telephone about 15 minutes before the incident.

“He said he was on his way to my house, that he was almost there and that they were going to drop him off,’’ said the woman, who requested that she be identified by her first name, Rosani.

The investigation into DaVeiga’s death remains open, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney’s office.

“The final reports are not yet completed, but the preliminary assessment that DaVeiga inflicted the wound upon himself has not changed, based on the statements of more than a dozen witnesses, findings of the chief medical examiner, ballistics evidence, and other evidence,’’ he said.

Brian Ballou can be reached at bballou@globe.com.