Man held as dangerous in recent Pittsfield shooting (copy)

Tahj McCormick

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A self-admitted gang member from Springfield, Mass., who officials say traveled to Vermont to illegally buy two handguns, will remain in prison pending a hearing on Wednesday on a charge of being a convicted felon in possession of firearms.

Tahj McCormick, 24, appeared for a brief virtual hearing in U.S. District Court in Burlington from the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt. U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy said the federal Pretrial Services Office wanted more time to investigate McCormick's criminal record before participating in the hearing.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it knew McCormick was a member of the “Sycamore Street Posse,” a known street gang in Springfield, Mass., before he came Brattleboro to try to buy a Glock 40-caliber semi-automatic pistol and a Glock 9-mm semi-automatic pistol for $700 last week, a court affidavit noted.

While negotiating with an undercover ATF agent during the sting operation, McCormick also mentioned his involvement in the gang, court records show.

McCormick is prohibited from possessing any firearms because his criminal record includes a felony conviction in Central Berkshire District Court in Pittsfield for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (firearm), federal court records show. He received an 18-month prison sentence, the ATF said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Masterson, in her detention motion, is seeking McCormick's jailing pending trial as both a danger to the community and a risk to flee. She noted McCormick ordered the two firearms "after sharing what type of gun he fancied" and has no known ties to Vermont.

"There are no conditions of release this Court could set that will reasonably assure the appearance of McCormick as required and, most importantly, the safety of the community," Masterson wrote.