Prosecutors say men threatened violence ahead of Pokemon conference

James Stumbo, second from left, and Kevin Norton, right, both of Iowa, are seen during their arraignment at Boston Municipal Court.
James Stumbo, second from left, and Kevin Norton, right, both of Iowa, are seen during their arraignment at Boston Municipal Court. –Chitose Suzuki/Pool

Two men who were arrested on weapons charges had made online threats toward attendees at the World Pokemon Championships and posted photos of their weapons before their arrest, prosecutors said Monday.

Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, both of Iowa, were arraigned Monday in Boston Municipal Court. They will be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing next week. The two had been in custody since their arrest at a Saugus hotel on Saturday.

Norton wore a camouflage shirt in court Monday. Stumbo wore an inside-out gray shirt and gym shorts. Neither had a prior criminal history, their lawyers said.

Officials said Norton and Stumbo drove 25 hours to Boston for the championships from Iowa, armed with hundreds of rounds of ammunition, a Remington shotgun, an AR-15, and a large hunting knife.

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Prosecutors said Norton had previously been banned from an online chatroom related to the event. When he asked to be reinstated to the group, the chatroom moderator denied him, prosecutors said.

“Oh, ok, that’s fine then I will just shoot him on Friday thanks,’’ Norton responded, according to prosecutors.

In other online posts, the two engaged in a conversation that referenced Columbine and the Boston Massacre, officials said. (Prosecutors clarified the defendants did not make those references.) In that post, Stumbo said that “my AR-15 says you lose,’’ according to prosecutors.

Police said Stumbo had posted on a Pokemon-related Facebook group with a photo of two large weapons on a vehicle. “Kevin Norton and I are ready for worlds Boston here we come!!!’’ he wrote.

Another group member wished the two luck.

“With killing the competition?’’ Norton wrote, according to authorities.

The messages alarmed the group’s moderator, who alerted Pokemon International about the threats, according to authorities. They said the company in turn alerted security at Hynes Convention Center, where the tournament was being held.

“When competitors saw threats, they told security. It really goes back to ‘When you see something, say something,’’’ said Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, speaking at a news conference at Boston Police headquarters. “Thank God we were able to cut off whatever threat these two individuals coming from Iowa were up to.’’

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