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Mitchell man charged with assault for pointing pellet gun at cars

A 72-year-old Mitchell man has been charged with aggravated assault after police say he pointed a pellet gun at several passing vehicles. Samuel Tulio was arrested Sunday when police allegedly found him intoxicated in his front lawn pointing what...

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A 72-year-old Mitchell man has been charged with aggravated assault after police say he pointed a pellet gun at several passing vehicles.

Samuel Tulio was arrested Sunday when police allegedly found him intoxicated in his front lawn pointing what appeared to be a handgun at people at 1021 W. Seventh Ave. in Mitchell, according to Patrol Sgt. Joel Reinesch.

At about 7:45 p.m., police received a 911 call about the incident, and officers traveled to Tulio's residence near the intersection of Seventh Avenue and Juanita Street, near Mitchell Middle School.

When police arrived, with at least one officer armed with an AR-15, they found Tulio sitting on a lawn chair in the front yard and pointing what appeared to be a handgun at vehicles as they were driving by. According to Reinesch, Tulio allegedly told police he pointed the gun at approximately 70 vehicles and was wondering how long it was going to take for law enforcement to show up.

"It appeared that he took this to be a game," Reinesch said. "Obviously to us it's not, and it certainly wasn't at least to the one passerby who called it in right away."

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Reinesch said the caller feared for his or her safety and pressed the gas pedal to quickly leave the scene. Neighbors said Tulio pointed the gun at them, as well, court documents state.

After Tulio was in custody, police discovered the weapon was a pellet gun, court documents state, but Reinesch said it looked and felt like a real pistol. Reinesch said Mitchell police take reports of gunplay seriously and will always deploy tactical weapons.

Reinesch also said Tulio did not immediately comply with officers and had the pellet gun next to him the entire time.

"If he picks up the firearm or waves it around, any time that happens, it has the potential of turning into an officer-involved shooting situation, which obviously none of us want," Reinesch said. "It very easily could have turned into that situation. I think the guys who responded did a good job of doing what they're trained to do."

Tulio refused to take a preliminary breath test, but officials on scene believed he was intoxicated.

Tulio was charged with aggravated assault, a class 3 felony, punishable upon conviction by up to 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

Although no one was injured, Reinesch said Tulio's alleged actions are classified as aggravated assault based on the use of "physical menace" to "induce fear of death or bodily harm."

Tulio remained in custody as of Monday afternoon, and bond was set at $2,000. He was also ordered not to consume alcohol. Tulio is scheduled to appear in court next week.

Related Topics: CRIME
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