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National Guardsman Arrested For Firing Machine Gun

April 3, 1989

BOSTON (AP) _ A weekend National Guardsman pleaded innocent Monday to charges he fired a full clip from his rifle on a city street, apparently for an audience of his friends, and then fled from police in a military truck.

Edward J. Silva, 22, told authorities he panicked when he saw police and drove away, leading them on a three-mile chase early Sunday, officials said.

Silva was charged in Dorchester District Court with possession of a machine gun, unlicensed possession of ammunition, failing to stop for police, speeding, larceny, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, disorderly conduct and receiving a stolen vehicle, said court clerk Marjorie Skillman.

Judge James Nolan set Silva’s bail at $250 cash and scheduled trial for June 28, Ms. Skillman said.

Investigators for the Massachusetts National Guard were looking into the matter, said 1st Lt. Tammy Miracle.

Ms. Miracle said Silva, a mechanic and weekend infantryman for three years, was among guardsmen who went to a firing range at Camp Edwards in Falmouth to qualify to use an M-16 rifle.

″As far as we know, he was issued the weapon and the truck,″ she said. The camouflage-green pickup truck was Silva’s to use in his job as mechanic. The gun was for his use on the base, she said, but the ammunition was to be used only on the firing range.

″That’s one thing you can’t take off the firing range, and that’s the major violation we have to look into,″ she said.

Additionally, she said, ″We haven’t found out if he was still on duty or why he had the vehicle.″

Earlier, National Guard Capt. Patrick Rose said Silva apparently shot the gun into the air to impress friends he had been drinking with.

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