Heard: September 6, 2018.
found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March
pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Charles J.
Hely, J., and the cases were tried before Raffi N. Yessayan,
N. Marx for the defendant.
MacLean, Assistant District Attorney (L. Adrian Bispham,
Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the
Present: Vuono, Agnes, & Henry, JJ.
defendant, Luis Santos, appeals from his convictions, after a
trial by jury, of possession of a sawed-off shotgun in
violation of G. L. c. 269, § 10 (c0, and possession of a
loaded firearm without a license in violation of G. L. c.
269, § 10 (n),  The charges arose out of the stop of the
defendant as he alighted from a vehicle and the subsequent
seizure of firearms from inside the vehicle. The defendant
raises two issues. First, he argues that the motion judge,
who heard his pretrial motion to suppress evidence, erred in
ruling that the police had reasonable suspicion to conduct a
threshold inquiry. Second, he argues that the
Commonwealth's trial evidence was not sufficient to prove
beyond a reasonable doubt that he had constructive possession
of the sawed-off shotgun found in the back seat of the
vehicle, and that he knew the shotgun was loaded. We affirm.
motion judge conducted an evidentiary hearing on the
defendant's motion to suppress. The motion judge credited
the testimony of Boston Police Officer Jarrod Gero, the only
9:45 A.M. on January 10, 2014, Officer Gero was in
plainclothes, in an unmarked police vehicle. He heard an all
points police radio broadcast (all points broadcast) for a
"robbery involving a shotgun." The all points
broadcast informed him that the suspects fled from the scene
in a white Toyota Corolla station wagon. The dispatcher gave
"Blue Hill Ave. and Dudley Street" as the location
of the crime, but did not broadcast information about the
direction in which the vehicle was headed.
first heard the all points broadcast, Officer Gero was in the
Grove Hall neighborhood of the Dorchester section of Boston,
about one and one-half miles from the location of the
reported armed robbery. He was familiar with the area, having
made numerous arrests there over the years. Within several
minutes, Officer Gero spotted a white Toyota Corolla station
wagon pass his vehicle, heading in the opposite direction,
away from Blue Hill Avenue. He had observed white Toyota
Corolla vehicles in that area in the past, but never a
station wagon. He saw two male occupants in the vehicle, a
driver and a front seat passenger. Suspecting that this could
be the getaway car, he turned his vehicle around and informed
dispatch that he was following a white Toyota Corolla station
wagon. Officer Gero followed the vehicle for three to five
minutes, over "Geneva[, ] . . . Bowdoin[, ] . . .
Greenbrier, . . . Dakota, . . . Washington[, ] . . . and
School Street[s]. After turning onto School Street, Officer
Gero observed the vehicle turn into the driveway of a
multifamily house and drive toward the rear of the home.
notifying police dispatch of his location and his intention
to pursue the vehicle on foot, Officer Gero got out of his
vehicle and followed the white Toyota Corolla station wagon
down the driveway. He saw it park, and as he approached, the
driver's side door opened. As the operator, later
identified as the defendant, stepped out, Officer Gero, who
had drawn his weapon, instructed the defendant to show his
hands and not to move. Officer Gero could see into the
vehicle, and he observed the front seat passenger trying to
stuff a silver handgun between the seat and the door. Officer
Gero took control of the defendant, positioning the defendant
between the passenger and him. At this point, other officers
arrived. Officer Gero informed the arriving officers of the
handgun, and then put the defendant on the ground and
handcuffed him. At some point, Officer Gero realized that
there was a third male, in the rear seat of the vehicle.
Other officers removed the front and rear seat passengers
from the vehicle and arrested them. The handgun was recovered
under the front passenger seat. Officer Gero also observed
the barrel of a shotgun in the rear seat, underneath some
motion judge ruled that the stop and detention of the
defendant was a valid threshold inquiry based on the all
points broadcast of an armed robbery heard by Officer Gero
and his subsequent observations, and that given the nature of
the suspected crime, it was a reasonable safety precaution to
handcuff the defendant as he got out of the vehicle. He also
rejected the defendant's argument that Officer Gero's
entry into the driveway where the white Toyota Corolla
station wagon stopped was unlawful.
Denial of motion to suppress.