TROY, N.Y. (WWNY) - A Fort Drum soldier arrested for allegedly carrying a so-called “ghost gun” at a Black Lives Matter rally was part of an armed group, according to the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s office.
More details about the arrest of Noah Latham, 21, of Fort Drum, were released Tuesday.
Latham was part of a group of eight men detained by police in Troy - near Albany N.Y. - on Sunday, June 7, during a Black Lives Matter rally in that city.
The men were " dressed in military style body armor and wearing bullet proof vests," according to a statement Tuesday from the D.A.'s office.
“Some of the men were carrying loaded firearms and two way radios and some were also carrying batons.”
Chief Assistant District Attorney Matthew B. Hauf told 7 News last week the men were detained in and near a parking garage not far from Troy’s police department, during the Black Lives Matter rally which began at a city park and made its way downtown to the police station and city hall.
They mingled with the Black Lives Matter protesters, Hauf said.
Police searched their vehicles and “recovered a cache of loaded firearms and ammunition.,” according to the statement.
“A gas mask, fireworks and a tactical manual tying the group to the New England Minutemen militia group was also found in one of the vehicles.”
Latham was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, second degree, a Class C violent felony. He allegedly had a pistol in the waistband of his pants, a “ghost gun,” a gun assembled from parts bought over the internet that has no serial number. Latham is reportedly back on Fort Drum, confined to base.
The D.A.'s office announced Tuesday that a second man was arrested; Nathaniel Shepard, 34, of Averill Park - about 20 minutes from Albany - was charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a Class C violent felony; 16 counts of Criminal Possession of a weapon in the Third Degree, a Class D Violent felony and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree, a Class A Misdemeanor,
Shepard pleaded not guilty and was released under the supervision of probation.
What - if anything - Latham and the others planned to do at the rally is a mystery. Rensselaer County’s District Attorney, Mary Pat Donnelly, acknowledged as much.
“The decision of these individuals to attend the rally with loaded firearms, protective gear, fireworks and twoway radios leaves open questions as to their intentions.”
7 News spoke with Latham in February as part of a story on a proposal to make Jefferson County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary.”
“We want to restore the Constitution and Second Amendment status as best we can because a lot of us feel that it has really been infringed upon by the SAFE Act and a lot of the new proposed laws,” said Latham at the time.
In Facebook posts, Latham takes issue with the way police have dealt with protesters. He repeats a tweet which reads “so you’re just gonna use police brutality on protesters against police brutality at the police brutality protest.”
He also repeats a tweet which reads "Police officers should need a four-year degree in criminal justice. There should be mandatory courses in deescalation, mental health, coping, etc.
“This isn’t only for public safety, it’s to help the officers. It’s also to weed out kids who are mad and want authority.”