Armed man arrested in parking lot

OKEECHOBEE — Like a scene from a movie about the Old West, a man was arrested at gunpoint after police saw him walking along Parrott Avenue with an exposed handgun hanging from his right hip.

Robert Euekett Thomas

Robert Euekett Thomas

Officer R.E. Marrero, of the Okeechobee City Police Department (OCPD), said the man was carrying a .357 magnum in a holster when he was first seen Saturday afternoon in the area of Walgreens. When the man, Robert Euekett Thomas, refused Officer Marrero’s motion to stop he was eventually taken down and arrested at gunpoint.

Thomas, 48, S.E. 34th Ave., Okeechobee, was arrested July 2 on a felony charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was also arrested on misdemeanor charges of carrying a concealed firearm and openly carrying a firearm not in self defense or hunting.

He is being held in the Okeechobee County Jail on a $17,000 bond.

According to Officer Marrero’s report Thomas was walking north on Parrott Avenue around 2 p.m. with “… a black gun strapped to a black holster on his right hip and his shirt was tucked behind the gun — exposing it to view.”

The officer reportedly motioned for the man to stop walking, but he refused.

Instead, he took the gun from its holster and put it in a white plastic shopping bag and kept walking.

Thomas, continued the report, walked onto the Traveler’s Inn parking lot, 601 N. Parrott Ave., where he was ordered to stop and drop the bag by Officer Marrero.

“The suspect attempted to reach inside the bag and, at that point, I unholstered my weapon and held him at gunpoint,” stated the officer. “I ordered him again to put the bag on the ground, but he did not.”

By this time other officers arrived at the scene and Thomas reportedly dropped the bag. He was then handcuffed and taken to jail without further incident.

Officer Marrero said Thomas has two felony convictions on his record. Both of those cases are in other jurisdictions.

The officer also noted the serial number on the Taurus .357 magnum was checked and it came back as stolen. The report, however, does not indicate from where the gun was reportedly stolen.

Eric Kopp is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News

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