Saying “I run this street, not the cops,” a Tavernier man threatened two kids with an air rifle when he saw them walking down his road, police say.
James Joyce, 53, reportedly believed the youths, ages 11 and 14, were rummaging through stuff he put to the curb as trash on West Indies Road. It was about 7 p.m. Thursday, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputy Becky Herrin said Joyce saw the kids in front of his house on the street and yelled at them to get away from his property. When they didn’t immediately leave, he went inside, retrieved what looked to the kids and neighbors like a black rifle and waved it around.
Witnesses say he was yelling, “Go ahead, call the cops, this is my street and I will protect it,” she said. The kids ran home and told their parents. The parents went outside and also saw Joyce with the gun and heard him yell, “Keep your kids inside, go ahead and call the cops,” Herrin said.
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They did and when deputies Christopher Kilmurray, Jason Far and Eric Viergutz and Sgt. Scott Ward arrived, they found Joyce and his wife sitting at the bottom of a stairway. The wife cooperated with orders to put her hands up and walk toward the deputies. Joyce didn’t cooperate but he was taken into custody without incident, Herrin said. The air rifle was found inside the house beside the front door.
Joyce was charged with aggravated assault and resisting a law enforcement officer. He was booked into jail and released Friday morning.