CORALVILLE, Iowa — A South Carolina man is accused of threatening people with a BB gun this weekend.
Coralville police responded to the Big Ten Inn, 707 First Ave., at 10:53 p.m. Saturday for a report of a man threatening people with a long gun. Police said 54-year-old Lonnie Brown, Jr. was pointed out as the suspect. Brown refused officers’ orders and continued to yell and make threats, police said. He allegedly said that the officers would have to shoot him.
Chief Barry Bedford said the Iowa City and North Liberty police departments and Johnson County Sheriff’s Office responded to the call. With Brown making threats to shoot someone and police not knowing initially that Brown was carrying a BB gun, Bedford said officers treated the incident as if Brown had a real gun. Officers had sidearms, rifles and shotguns drawn, Bedford said.
“He’s waving around a long gun, claiming it’s a gun,” Bedford said. “He’s telling people he’s going to shoot them. We’re going to assume it’s real.”
Police said Brown was eventually taken into custody, at which time his weapon was determined to be a BB gun.
Brown admitted to officers that he was arguing with people and holding the gun, but denied leaving the room. Surveillance video showed Brown leaving the hotel room while holding the BB gun, police said.
Police took Brown into custody and he faces charges of going armed with intent, disorderly conduct, interference with official acts and public intoxication. Going armed with intent is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison. The remaining charges are simple misdemeanors, punishable by up to 30 days in jail. Brown remains in custody on a $15,000 cash bond, according to jail records.