Cops: Riverhead man had loaded handgun at custody dispute


A Riverhead man is facing a felony weapons charge after he showed up at the scene of a custody dispute with a handgun in Mattituck Sunday evening, Southold town police said.

Police got a report from a woman about a disturbance at a home on Ole Jule Lane about 6 p.m., police said.

The woman told police that 28-year-old Walter Mason IV had come to the house with his children’s mother to take custody of an 8-month-old boy, police said. The woman, who was watching the children as per an agreement with the family, refused to hand over the boy after the child’s mother told her Mr. Mason was “acting irrationally,” police said.

Before Mr. Mason left, he told the woman he would come back and “shoot up the place,” police said.

Mr. Mason later returned to the house, and when the woman again refused to hand over the boy, he allegedly came out of his vehicle armed with a weapon. It did not appear that Mr. Mason threatened the woman with the gun, said police.

Police found Mr. Mason driving with another child in his car when they arrived on the scene.

After stopping Mr. Mason, police found a loaded .40 caliber handgun and marijuana in his vehicle, according to a report. He was arrested and charged with second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony, and unlawful possession of marijuana, police said.

Mr. Mason had been previously arrested by Riverhead police in March 2010 for second-degree harassment and second-degree menacing, according to a news article.

Mr. Mason was taken to police headquarters Sunday night and held for arraignment.

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