Two Iowa men who traveled to Boston to play in the Pokémon World Championships were arrested Saturday on firearms charges after police, alerted that the pair had made "threats of violence over social media," discovered guns and ammunition in their car.
James Stumbo, 27, and Kevin Norton, 18, were invited to play in the "masters division" of the championships, held over the weekend at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston. On Wednesday, Stumbo allegedly posted a photo (below) of two guns on the trunk of a car to the Mayhem Pokemon Crew Facebook page, with the message, "Kevin Norton and I are ready for worlds Boston here we come!!!" When another poster wished them "Good luck," Stumbo responded, "With killing the competition?"
In a statement to the press, the Pokémon Company International said it had heard about "a security issue" from "our community of players" and passed the information along to the convention center, which notified police. Stumbo and Norton were barred from entering the convention center on Thursday, and because they were unable to produce a license to carry firearms, police seized their car and obtained a search warrant.
On Friday, police searched the car and found a 12-gauge Remington shotgun, a DPM5 Model AR-15 rifle, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a hunting knife. The two men were arrested at their hotel in Saugus, north of Boston, on Saturday and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and other weapons charges.
Writer Jason Koebler, who was at the tournament, noticed the heightened security but said media weren't told about the threats or the arrests, and he didn't know about it until he checked the news on Sunday afternoon.
Koebler pointed out that Stumbo won the Nebraska Pokémon championship, and that Norton had played in a competition in Missouri. "It's worth noting that merely qualifying for the World Championships is an extremely difficult task, requiring players to navigate regional, state, and national-level tournaments before earning an invitation," he said. "So, it's pretty bizarre that the two would manage to qualify and then threaten the tournament, which was open to the public to attend."
Josh "Squeaky" Marking, who interviewed Stumbo after his Nebraska win, said that Stumbo "seemed like a chill person but he is also the type to be sarcastic and joke around." He also called Stumbo "a self proclaimed gun enthusiast."
The two men are scheduled to be arraigned this morning in Boston Municipal Court.