Heard: February 14, 2017.
received and sworn to in the Suffolk County Division of the
Juvenile Court Department on January 7, 2015.
found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March
joinder of the delinquency complaint and youthful offender
indictment, a pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard
in the Juvenile Court by Peter M. Coyne, J., and the case was
heard by him.
Rebecca L. Rose for the juvenile.
K. Anderson, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Green, Meade, & Agnes, JJ.
appeal follows a jury-waived trial which resulted in a
determination that the juvenile was a youthful offender by
unlawfully possessing a firearm in violation of G. L. c. 269,
§ 10 (a.), and delinquent by reason of carrying a loaded
firearm without a firearm identification card in violation of
G. L. c. 269, § 10(n). The juvenile was committed to the
custody of the Department of Youth Services until age
twenty-one. The sole question on appeal is whether the motion
judge, who also was the trial judge, erred in denying the
juvenile's pretrial motion to suppress evidence. More
particularly, the juvenile contends that he was unlawfully
seized by the police without reasonable suspicion or probable
cause, and that the firearm and ammunition offered in
evidence at his trial should have been suppressed as the
fruits of that claimed unlawful seizure. We affirm.
Boston police officers testified at the hearing on the
juvenile's motion to suppress. The following account is
based on the judge's findings of fact and other testimony
by the officers, which the judge implicitly credited. See
Commonwealth v. Jones-Pannell, 472
Mass. 429, 431 (2015). On January 6, 2015, Officer Eric
Merner responded to a radio broadcast that a person on
conditional release from a pending criminal charge, Dion
Ruiz, was in a global positioning system (GPS) exclusion zone
in the area of Washington and Ruggles Streets in
Merner received a picture of Ruiz on his cellular telephone
(cell phone), and proceeded to the area to search for Ruiz.
As he approached the area in question, Officer Merner
observed the juvenile in this case standing on the corner of
Washington and Ruggles Streets. Officer Merner's
attention was initially drawn to the juvenile because the
juvenile was near the area where he was searching for Ruiz.
Further down Washington Street, Officer Merner located Ruiz,
whom he identified based on the photograph he had received.
While observing Ruiz, Officer Merner noticed the juvenile
approaching Ruiz at a "light jog" while maintaining
eye contact with Ruiz. As the juvenile jogged toward Ruiz, he
held both of his hands in front of his "belt buckle
area" at his waist, with his elbows sticking out to the
sides. This drew Officer Merner's attention as an
unnatural way of jogging. Officer Merner had undergone
specialized training on the characteristics of an armed
person, one of which included walking or running with arms
pinned down so as to hold onto a firearm.
Merner observed the juvenile meet Ruiz and have a
conversation before they walked away together along
Washington Street. Officer Merner, in plain clothes and in an
unmarked car, then radioed for a patrol car to stop Ruiz.
Officer David Crabbe and his partner responded to the call.
Upon arriving on the scene, Officer Crabbe observed the
juvenile and Ruiz walking together. Officer Crabbe and his
partner exited their vehicle approximately thirty feet in
front of the juvenile and Ruiz, who were walking in the
officers' direction, and waited on the sidewalk for them
to approach. When the juvenile and Ruiz drew near, Officer
Crabbe said, "Hey, guys, can I talk to you for a
sec?" and the juvenile and Ruiz stopped walking. It was
Officer Crabbe's intention to retrieve a picture of Ruiz
on his cell phone and ask, "Are you Dion Ruiz?"
However, as he was taking out his cell phone and asking the
question, the juvenile fled, running past Officer Crabbe, who
dropped his cell phone.
picking up his cell phone from the ground, Officer Crabbe
turned around and observed the juvenile running away. At that
point he had not made a decision whether to follow the
juvenile. Officer Crabbe, like Officer Merner, had undergone
training in identifying the characteristic movements of
someone who is armed with a firearm. He observed the juvenile
running with "his right arm being pinned up against his
-- the right side of his body as he was running with his left
hand swinging fully." Based on this observation, Officer
Crabbe believed that the juvenile might be carrying a
firearm, and decided to run after him. Officer Crabbe did not
call out to the juvenile to stop, or otherwise indicate to
the juvenile that he was following him. While following the
juvenile, Officer Crabbe observed him pause near two grills
against the side of a building, bend over at the waist next
to the grills, then straighten up and resume running. Officer
Crabbe observed that after bending down near the grills, the
juvenile ran for the first time with both arms swinging
running after the juvenile, Officer Crabbe lost sight of him
several times. Shortly thereafter, roughly one block away,
Officer Crabbe and Officer Merner, who had driven his car
around the block, encountered the juvenile. He was walking
toward the officers at a normal pace, "as if trying to
blend in." The officers approached the juvenile. They
had a brief conversation during which Officer Crabbe placed
his hand on the juvenile's chest and felt his heart
beating "very quickly." Officer Crabbe also
observed that the juvenile was breathing heavily. Officer
Merner noted that the juvenile appeared "a bit
excited." Shortly thereafter, the juvenile was placed in
handcuffs; a patfrisk of his person did not yield any
Crabbe retraced the juvenile's flight path to where he
had observed the juvenile pausing to bend down near the two
grills. In the area of the grills Officer Crabbe discovered a