A Columbus man was arrested over the weekend after what initially appeared to be an assault weapon was displayed during a road-rage incident on the southeast side of the city.
Walter Errick Chandler III, 22, of North Gladstone Avenue, faces preliminary charges of intimidation with a deadly weapon, pointing a firearm and possession of marijuana.
Columbus Police Department spokesman Lt. Matt Myers called the matter “a very dangerous situation,” even though the device later was determined to be a BB gun that resembled an assault rifle.
In the initial report received at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, a motorist told police he followed a black Buick Rendezvous south on State Street that had abruptly pulled out in front of his vehicle. Columbus police say that after the angry complainant pulled alongside the Buick near the Kirby Risk supply store on Repp Drive, he began a heated exchange of words with the woman driving the car.
As tempers were rising, a passenger in the Buick reached down and pulled what looked like an AR-15 assault rifle up from the floorboard through his legs, Myers said. The AR-15 is described as a lightweight, magazine-fed, semiautomatic rifle that has been in production for at least 50 years.
Myers added the passenger showed the angry driver the weapon and “called him some names.”
Due to the potential danger, both city and county officers responded to the area after the initial report was received. After Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Deputy Dean Johnson saw the Buick, he stopped the vehicle near Gladstone Avenue and Ohio Street.
During a potentially high-risk stop, officers typically have their weapons drawn and stay back from the suspect’s vehicle, using their patrol cars for cover. Chandler was sitting in the front passenger seat next to the driver when he was apprehended.
The woman admitted she had accidentally pulled in front of the complainant’s vehicle on State Street and that there was a gun in the vehicle at one time, Myers said.
When officers searched the Buick, they found a BB gun that, from outward appearances, resembled an assault rife.
Chandler was arrested and taken to the Bartholomew County jail. During a search, officers discovered he had a small amount of marijuana. He was being held in lieu of $35,000 bond.