A Leesburg man was arrested after he reportedly left a loaded gun within reach of a bunch of juveniles at a gathering in Fruitland Park.
Gary Dale Williams, 54, was charged with unsafe storage of a firearm and resisting arrest without violence after the incident, which happened Saturday night at a residence at 304 Forest St.
The victim told Fruitland Park police officers he had been at the residence and became upset, prompting him to leave. He said while he was backing out of the driveway, a man he knew only as “Shadow” pulled a firearm out of his waistband and placed a round in the chamber, according to the arrest report.
The victim described the firearm as a silver or gray handgun. He said the gun was not pointed at him, the report said.
The officers responded to the residence and met with a group of people in the front yard. They asked if anyone there went by “Shadow,” according to the report.
One woman said no one at the residence went by that name. At that point, a man – later identified as Williams – stood up from the porch and started to walk inside the home. The officer told him to stop and remain outside, but Williams continued to enter. While he did so, an officer observed an imprint on Williams’ waist that he recognized to be a gun, the report said.
The officers opened the front door to the residence and ordered Williams to come out, which he did. He was then separated from the rest of the group, according to the report.
When asked about the earlier altercation, Williams repeatedly stated there was no altercation and that he was only at the residence to cook food for a get together. The officers informed him that they were aware he had the gun and asked where it was. Williams said he was scared and put the firearm on a pile of trash. He also said he had an expired concealed weapons permit, the report said.
Due to multiple children being inside the home, more officers entered and retrieved the firearm. A juvenile told one of the officers he saw Williams enter the home, take the firearm out and place it down. The gun was located within easy reach of the juveniles and loaded with one round in the chamber, the report said.
Williams was transported to the Lake County Jail and released after posting $1,500 bond.