GHS briefly locked down after caller reports armed man nearby

Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.

The Gainesville Police Department locked down Gainesville High School for less than five minutes at about noon Tuesday after a witness reported seeing a man pump a shotgun in plain view near the school.

Police spokesman Officer Ben Tobias identified the man as Joshua L. Williams, 19.

The witness drove by and saw Williams pump the shotgun, Tobias said. The witness turned for another pass, and Williams still had the gun out, so the witness called 911, Tobias said.

“It caused some serious fear in the witness,” Tobias said.

GPD patrol officers and detectives responded, and they found Williams near his black BMW.

“(Williams) was cooperative,” Tobias said, “and told police exactly where the firearm was -- in the trunk.”

Officers placed Williams under arrest and charged him with improper display of a firearm near a school, a third-degree felony.

Tobias said the school was shut down merely as a precaution. As for why the man had a gun, Tobias said the man told detectives he was selling the weapon.

“He said he was trying to negotiate the sale of a shotgun, which was a perfectly reasonable maneuver,” Tobias said. “But he just picked the wrong place to do it.”

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