Two New Bedford men who brought a loaded firearm to New Bedford District Court property were convicted of illegal firearm offenses last week and sentenced to serve two-and-a-half years in jail, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Alante Brown, 19, and Manny Andrews, 26, pleaded guilty in Fall River Superior Court to indictments charging them with carrying an illegal firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. In addition to the jail sentence, Judge Renee Dupuis sentenced both men to two years of supervised probation upon their release from jail. The cases were prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Patrick Driscoll.

According to a narrative released by Quinn, it happened on June 19. At around 10:15 a.m., Massachusetts State Trooper Keith Ledin was due to testify in a trial and parked on Kempton Street in a black, unmarked state police cruiser. That's when he said he saw four males walk from the courthouse and engage in suspicious behavior.

Trooper Ledin observed one man, later identified as Andrews, open the rear driver’s side door of a Nissan Altima, reach into the back seat, and retrieve what looked like a fanny pack that he handed to Brown. He said Brown stepped back from the Altima and into a grassy area between two buildings, looked around, pulled up his sweatshirt, attached the fannypack, and covered it with his sweatshirt. Ledin said he observed Brown “post up” near the side entrance to the courthouse with his back flat against the wall. Ledin believed Brown was waiting for someone inside the courthouse to come out.

Police were aware that in weeks prior, two shooting had occurred in the city involving rival gang members. In one of the shootings, a United Front Gang member was identified as a suspect.

Trooper Ledin made a phone call to New Bedford Police Sergeant Shane Ramos, who was inside the courthouse. After learning that New Bedford Gang Unit Detectives Lorenzo Gonzalez and Robert Decunha were working, Trooper Ledin called them as well.

Gonzalez and Decunha arrived in an unmarked cruiser. Gonzalez recognized Brown as a United Front Gang member who does not possess a license to carry firearms. When Detectives Decunha and Gonzales approached him, Brown took two steps in an attempt to flee but ran straight in Gonzalez.

Brown and Gonzalez fell to the ground as other law enforcement quickly arrived, according to the police narrative.

A police officer felt the fanny pack and determined that it contained a gun. The fanny pack was removed, opened, and officers found a loaded black Smith & Wesson Bodyguard .380 caliber firearm. Brown was put in handcuffs and arrested. Andrews was arrested trying to leave the scene.

“I commend the actions of Trooper Keith Ledine for preventing what could have been a very violent and dangerous situation at the New Bedford District Court. Two men affiliated with a local gang bringing a loaded gun to court is an example of extreme lawlessness that could have resulted in serious injury or death to anyone at the courthouse," DA Quinn said.

Quinn said Trooper Ledine "acted in a very professional manner to diffuse a very dangerous situation. We owe him, and his colleagues with the New Bedford Police Department, a debt of gratitude.”

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