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Clearwater PD chief on parking dispute: 'You don’t grab a gun like some vigilante'

The agency says a man armed himself with a rifle during an argument about parking. Police will present the case to prosecutors to consider charges.
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CLEARWATER, Fla. — Clearwater police say they will ask the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office to review a case in which a man reportedly grabbed a rifle during a parking dispute.

Officers say it happened last Thursday on Boylan Avenue near Lakeview Road. They'll be asking prosecutors to decide whether the alleged incident warrants a possible charge of aggravated assault with a firearm.

The police department said it appears a 44-year-old man armed himself with the "AR-15 style rifle" during an argument with a man who was doing yard work across the street. The argument began, authorities say, because the ramp to the yard worker's trailer may have been partially blocking the man's driveway.

At some point, police say the man pointed the rifle toward the yard worker while making threats.

Video has been circulating on social media, according to law enforcement, but the footage was reportedly recorded after the rifle was pointed. So, police are trying to piece together what happened. The man accused of pointing the rifle told investigators he was threatened by the yard worker before arming himself, according to Clearwater PD.

“We are actively investigating this incident and will be presenting the case to the Office of the State Attorney,” Police Chief Dan Slaughter wrote in a statement. “The bottom line is a dispute over parking should never have escalated to something like this. If you have a problem with someone partially blocking the driveway, you call the police. You don’t grab a gun like some vigilante.”

Anybody with information that could help detectives is urged to call Clearwater PD at 727-562-4242.

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