Pokémon Competition

Crisis Averted

Elliot Johnson, Cactus Contributor

Over the weekend of August 21st-23rd, the Pokemon Worlds National Championship took place at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston, MA. Among the arriving guests of the event were two men, that were intending to participate in the event, but they brought more than just their trading cards and video games. Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, from Iowa had a 12-gauge shotgun, AR-15 rifle, several rounds of ammunition and a hunting knife. Because of threats made online by these two men, the organizers of the event were able to apprehend the two before anything could have happened. Stumbo posted a photo on Facebook of the two firearms on the trunk of his car with the caption “Kevin Norton and I are ready for worlds Boston here we come!!!” In the comments, another person had wished them good luck and Norton replied “With killing the competition”

Boston Police had detained the two when they tried to enter the convention center while registering for the tournament. BPD obtained a warrant to search their car and found their weapons. Norton and Stumbo had no license to carry the arms found in the car so they were arrested with the charges of unlawful possession.

Pokemon Worlds is an official event for players of the Pokemon Trading Card Game and players of the Pokemon Video Game put together by Play! Pokemon and the International Pokemon Company. At this Pokemon event, players came from all over the world to participate. It is an invite only event. To become qualified, a player has to complete in multiple competitions throughout the year in their local area. Stumbo and Norton were long time competitors in Pokemon competitions. But it was also thanks to that community that the officials of the event were notified and that they were able to notify the Boston Police Department.

The two men were held in jail and denied bail for up to 4 months until their trial. Their lawyers tried to make their online threats seem like it was just online talk and said, “this is just the way they all spoke to each other.” Assistant District Attorney Joseph Janezic pointed out that the men drove from Iowa all the way to Boston with two firearms and ammunition for this event. “It’s a different scenario than idle chit chat on Facebook or Twitter account.” “You’re one step away from carrying these out.” Janezic mentioned that on top of the unlawful possession charges, it is an ongoing investigation to whether it’s a case of “cyberbullying or a mass casualty” situation.