A Vineyard Haven man is being held on $250,000 cash bail and is facing charges including attempted murder and possessing an explosive device, following an incident in the early hours of March 5. Matthew Gamache, 36, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with attempted murder, domestic assault and battery, intimidation of a witness, 24 counts of unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition and possession of an explosive device.
He was arraigned was Thursday morning in Edgartown district court, and is being held without bail pending the outcome of a dangerousness hearing, set for Tuesday, March 11.
Bail was originally set at $250,000 cash by clerk magistrate Liza Williamson, citing the nature and circumstances of the offenses.
Tisbury police Det. Mark Santon said in court that Tisbury police responded to a call just after 4 a.m. Wednesday about an alleged domestic assault. A woman known to Mr. Gamache reported that he allegedly kicked her, choked her and head-butted her in the face. Detective Santon said Mr. Gamache allegedly tried to prevent the woman from calling the police, and she left the house and drove to the police station, finding no officers there at the time. She later returned to the house and observed Mr. Gamache driving away from the house, Detective Santon said. Mr. Gamache allegedly called her and threatened to ruin her life if she called the police. A police report said Mr. Gamache was taken into custody at a friend’s house in Edgartown. The alleged victim was granted a restraining order, Detective Santon said, and told police she was afraid for her life.
When police responded they were told Mr. Gamache had firearms in the basement, Detective Santon said. A door in the basement was locked with screws driven through the door on all four corners, he said. Mr. Gamache had allegedly secured the door before leaving the house.
Detective Santon said Tisbury police assisted by Oak Bluffs police found 24 guns (21 long guns and three pistols), pounds of loose black powder and about 2,000 rounds of ammunition. Officers were told Mr. Gamache was a competitive skeet shooter, he added.
Detective Santon said officers discovered a glass jar containing something that resembled a small incendiary device — a cylindrical object that appeared to be wrapped in duct tape with a green cord of fuse-like material sticking out of the top. Detective Santon said the Massachusetts state police bomb squad confirmed that it appeared to be an explosive device. The bomb squad was scheduled to come to the Vineyard Thursday to assess and defuse the device. The inventory of weapons is still being conducted, he said.
Police determined Mr. Gamache was illegally in possession of the firearms, and the weapons were seized and transported back to the police station.
Detective Santon said Mr. Gamache has a past record in Massachusetts, including suspended sentences for resisting arrest and assault and battery.
Attorney Michele Casavant, representing Mr. Gamache during the bail hearing, suggested bail of $10,000. She said in past cases he has appeared in court as required and that he has ties to the community, including running a successful construction company for the last four years. “His ties and his roots are here in the community,” she said. She said he also lives in Maine but his business is on the Vineyard.
Ms. Casavant said Mr. Gamache also acts as a father figure to his two nieces.
In setting bail at $250,000, Ms. Williamson said she was concerned about the charges stemming from a domestic incident, the “sheer quantity” of the weapons and ammunition and Mr. Gamache’s record of convictions.
The explosive device charge comes with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in state prison, she said. “He does face quite a big penalty with regard to that one charge alone,” the clerk magistrate said, and cited his record of convictions and the nature and circumstances of the alleged charges.