UPDATED: Argument near school involves weaponPolice intervene after incident in alley near Mitchell's Longfellow Elementary
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Police intervened Friday afternoon following a confrontation between a parent and a man with a holstered gun near Longfellow Elementary School in Mitchell.
Police cited Christopher Nisbet, 36, and Gene Battest, 59, both of Mitchell, for disorderly conduct for their respective roles in an argument over parking. Battest was also issued a parking ticket for blocking an alley across from the school.
Investigator Joel Reinesch said police received a 3:23 p.m. call that Nisbet was threatening to shoot out the tires of Battest’s car, which was reportedly blocking an alley across from the school.
The incident took place as students were being dismissed from the nearby school building.
“Police responded immediately and overwhelmingly,” said Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves.
Graves and Longfellow Principal Joe Childs explained the incident in a letter distributed Friday to parents, noting that “our information is only as complete as we have thus far.” The letter then related the known details of the confrontation between the two men.
The police account said Nisbet was upset that Battest was blocking the alley and forcing other vehicles to turn around on Nisbet’s property. Nisbet, said the report, told Battest that if he parked on his property again he would shoot out the tires of Battest's truck.
Reinesch said police found Nisbet in legal possession of a holstered handgun, which police obtained before interviewing the two men.
According to the police report, Nisbet never removed his pistol from its holster, and Battest told police he never feared for his personal safety during the argument.
The school district’s letter said the scene between the police and the men, including the confiscation of the weapon, was visible to parents and students during dismissal.
“Please know that your child’s safety is of paramount importance to us and that we regret that such an incident occurred so near school grounds,” Graves and Childs wrote. “We very much appreciate the Mitchell Department of Public Safety’s immediate and effective response to this situation. We will be reviewing the matter with the police in the near future to determine any additional steps we can take to reduce the chances of a situation like this in the future.”
Since the incident did not occur on school property, no weapons violations occurred, Reinesch said.
Disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. The fine for blocking an alley is $15, which doubles if not paid within 48 hours.