Crazy comes to Cayucos, pretends to have a gun

May 14, 2013

Stacey WardOPINION By STACEY WARDE

We get our share of crazies passing through town. I met one recently at Kelley’s Espresso and Desserts Coffee Shop in Cayucos. Right away he took a dislike to me—and to just about everyone who crossed his path.

The sheriff’s deputies had informed window washers on the job across the street that they were looking for a scruffy fellow wearing a plaid jacket. Not an easy task in this town. There are a lot of scruffy guys wearing plaid jackets around here.

Apparently he had been spotted waving a stick in a threatening manner at the middle-school up the road, pretending he had a gun.

As the window washer described the guy, a grumbling figure fitting the description passed by the window of the coffee shop. “That’s him!” the window washer exclaimed. “That’s him! Should I call the cops?”

“You bet,” I responded just as a squad car drove by the intersection. I rushed out the door and flagged down the squad car.

The deputy turned the car and came back. He rolled down his window. “That’s your guy right there isn’t it?” I nodded.

“Yeah,” the deputy said, offering a look of irritation. He rolled up his window and drove away.

And suddenly there I was left standing alone, the deputy off to who knows where, and the crazy guy raging, pissed off at me.

In this climate of gun crazies and whacked bombers blowing children to smithereens I figured that I was doing the right thing. “Here’s your man, the one who was waving his hand like he had a gun at the school yard.”

“You got something to say about me, you say it to my face,” the stranger said to my back.

“OK,” I turned and answered, “apparently the cops are looking for a guy whose description you fit to a T, a guy who was seen menacing the children, like he had a gun up at the school.”

“Say gun again and you’ll be sorry,” he threatened.

“The police said ‘gun,’ not me.”

He stared at me menacingly. “Stare into my eyes!”

I smirked, then snorted, trying not to laugh.

“I thought so,” he said, as if he’d judged me an easy target, a weakling. Then he followed me to Kelley’s. We sat out front at one of the tables.

I didn’t want him to feel threatened or challenged or bothering the other customers. I kept watching for the deputies to pull up any moment.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

He stared me down again, said he was from Oklahoma, asked me if I’d ever seen the bloody Arkansas River.

“No,” I answered. “Why’s it called ‘bloody?’”

“From people I took care of.”

“Are you telling me you’re a killer?”

“Just keep pushing me,” he threatened.

Where are the damned deputies? I kept wondering.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

No answer.

“What’s your name?”

He got up and walked away, rattled. Clearly he was insane and what I deemed a threat to the community. Apparently, the deputies thought otherwise, despite what they had told the window washers.

I went inside the coffee shop and moments later he came back and sat outside the window facing me, staring at me, giving me the Jedi mind control treatment, disturbing other customers.

I can take care of myself but I didn’t feel like getting into a scrape with him. I just wanted to finish drinking my coffee, reading the newspaper, unmolested by someone who belongs in an institution.

I felt annoyed and threatened. He caused concern among customers and staff. He reportedly made threatening gestures at the school. “He gives me the creeps,” an employee said.

Meanwhile, despite word from the deputies that he had threatened students at the school, he continued to roam free.

Finally, after nearly 30 minutes of staring me down through the window, he came in to borrow the shop phone, saying he had been robbed.

“Sorry, the phone is out of order,” a staffer said.

He went outside and got hold of a cellphone from one of the many cyclists who stop in for coffee treats on their road trips up and down Highway 1, the same road that brings the crazies through town.

He called the sheriff’s office on the borrowed phone to report that someone had swiped a Rabobank pen, a freebie the bank gives its customers, from his jacket pocket. The deputies investigated, determined it was a false report and hauled him off to jail.

They busted him for filing a false report. So apparently, he wasn’t that much of a threat after all.

An arresting deputy said, “Mental health is the problem in this country, not guns. We’ll take him in, have him evaluated.”

The next day, the stranger was back, mad as ever and still raging and threatening.

He pretended again as if he had a gun, this time holding his hand behind his back, while confronting Kelley, owner of the coffee shop. She called the deputies and made a citizen’s arrest.

As the deputy pulled away, the nutter in the back seat threw his head in a jerking motion, lips pursed, as if he was spitting on me and Kelley through the shop window.

He’ll likely be back. Then what? And what about the deputy who left me standing there to confront someone who had been reported seen menacing the children? Was I wrong to believe that?

I felt exposed and vulnerable, not protected by the deputy’s response to my willingness to help. Later when I mentioned it to another deputy, he seemed perturbed, didn’t want to discuss it.

“We’re too busy,” he snapped. “I wasn’t here yesterday. I’m here getting the story,” he finished, pen poised above his notepad.

“I’m part of the story,” I said. He gave me a look, irritated.

“Why is that guy back here?” I asked. “I thought he was going to be evaluated. Clearly he’s nuts and potentially dangerous.” The deputy showed more irritation than interest in my questions or my side of the story.

As I say, when children are daily threatened in this country with violence, I feel a personal responsibility to do what I can make sure they will be safe, especially those who live in my own hometown. Daily, children need our protection, more so when obvious loonies stand outside the school grounds menacing them with threatening gestures.

Law enforcement’s recent response to my willingness to help, however, not long after Sandy Hook, did little to assure me. I felt exposed, unsafe and unprotected. Additionally, the deputies were rude and dismissive.

Next time, I will be more cautious answering their call for support.

Stacey Warde writes from Cayucos, Calif., where he works as a farmhand and enjoys strong craft beers and deep rich coffees.


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Rambunctious

You must forgive the Deputy…he was most likely late for an appointment. I believe there was a seminar on how to maximize your cushy pension plan that morning.


topper01

@Rambunctious .. or could it be that the Constitution stripped the deputy of his power of arrest for being “scary”?


Robert1

What political office does he hold????????????


kettle

“He stared at me menacingly. “Stare into my eyes!””


Big on guns, dislikes the gov, won’t listen?


Tea party central committee, naturally.


r0y

Was he armed? Did he mention anything about the government? Such leaps…


Cindy

I think Stacey should send a copy of this story to Ian Parkinson. This is horrifying as I was imagining myself in Stacey’s place as I was reading the story. This is a very scary mentally ill person who is constantly alluding to violence, killing and intimidating people and he even obsesses on certain individuals like what he did with Stacey, that behavior is really freaking scary. Glad that Stacey knows that he can take care of himself but even he was concerned for his well being, imagine how a woman or child would feel.


He could easily have been held for 72 hours as he is clearly mentally ill and either suffers from schizophrenia or dementia in my opinion. He is also a danger to everyday citizens as he is threatening them. That is how it’s supposed to work but something is obviously broken. Was this guy even taken into county mental health?


In my opinion, the Sheriff’s department was seriously lacking in their duties to protect and serve. Parkinson needs to conduct an investigation into how this was “not handled”.


Thanks for the story Stacey, I wish you would write more for this media site.


GalaxyTraveler

Cindy. What gives??? Here’s what you said to me a week ago when I mentioned a woman I know who was frightened by an weird man who approached her at a gas station in SLO.


“A homeless man approached her in a public place and asked to clean her windshield ! Oh no for shame that he asked such a thing, how horrifying, it made her jump in her car and drive away. What the ??”


Really. I can hardly wait for your explanantion.


Cindy

Ditto.


GalaxyTraveler

The man I was referring to was just as scarey to the woman who told me the story. She said he was unlcean and made suggestive comments as he leaned up right behind her and asked to clean the windows.


BOTTOM LINE: There are many people in this blog who will automatically disgaree with whatever my point is. That’s the truth.


racket

I disagree.


GalaxyTraveler

That’s actually funny…LOL


kettle

GalaxyTraveler says: “BOTTOM LINE: There are many people in this blog who will automatically disgaree with whatever my point is. That’s the truth.”


You worked at it very hard, no surprise here.

What a concept, be a disagreeable anonymous commenter with a chip and people don’t agree with you.

What a surprise, not.


topper01

Cindy, (or is that Doctor Cindy, Psychiatrist?) You act like the deputy did everything he/she could to encourage this menace to society to continue his behavior. Law Enforcement officers enforce criminal laws. As far as I can tell, he arrested the scum bag. Our liberal government refused to allow him to be held in custody and let him out. When laws fail society, society takes matters into their own hands.


r0y

An unfortunate incident, indeed. However, from reading your words, it sounds as if just a few iritated or frightened people should be enough to haul someone away. While that sounds nice and “safe” for those in fear, and thinking about potential dangers (real or imagined) exacerbate this, the fine line for me is: should law enforcement (or anyone) be allowed to haul someone off because a few people are nervous or perceive a threat? Like I said, it’s a fine line.


Imagine if Dee Torres and her low-life boyfriend-of-the-month Adam Hill were there and thought you were threatening because you dared ask something about CAPSLO… should you be hauled off? I mean, they can tell the cops that they felt threatened?


I suppose what I am getting at is: I am hesitant to establish such a lose precedent. The best info you have is what the cop said: “Mental health is the problem in this country, not guns.” I also disagree with your premise of “In this climate of gun crazies and whacked bombers blowing children to smithereens” – this climate is mostly sensationalized by the media (if it bleeds, it leads) – they almost never run the stories about how grandma thwarted a burglar or some woman was not raped (or worse) because of firearm use.


I think the larger story here, much to the chagrin of anti-gun folks, is the mental issues (as it almost always is with any seemingly random violence against strangers). Why do we not focus on that? Because guns just look scary?


Anyway, I’m glad no one was actually hurt (physically, at least) and nothing was damaged.


Also,


rogerfreberg

Oh my, I read this and all I could think about what a crazy little fluffy bunny you are.


Oh yeah, I feel so much better and safer with some little 911 caller out there saving us.


SloHeadInTheSand

“And suddenly there I was left standing alone, the deputy off to who knows where, and the crazy guy raging, pissed off at me”…. AND THE ANSWER IS…. “We’re too busy,” he snapped. “ WAS HEDGES FILLING IN FOR PARKINSON THAT DAY?


Pelican1

As a former Cayucos Beach business associate, I have seem many strange folks come to town.

The Sheriff’s department for the most part kept a rather low profile with perhaps one exception, that being the 4th of July.

What the sheriff’s did do however is focus on the alleged town drunks. On a routine basis they would patrol the beachfront looking for the usual suspects. One interesting character who they relentlessly pursued was Jim Jennings (he has since passed away). they would arrest his for public intoxication, take him to Jail and they would release him the next day and they re-arrest him a week or two later for the same thing…this went on continually.

I don’t know that Jim was ever offered any sort of intervention, just short term incarceration. Despite his addiction, he had a rather interesting life and could tell wonderful stories. Perhaps his Vietnam experience negatively impacted his life, I don’t really know. I just know I wish the sheriff’s department had been able to get his some very much needed help. Of course, he would have had to take the first step.

RIP Jim


topper01

Pelican1 While I would agree that, by your account, this individual did need intervention, one must keep in mind that the Sheriff’s Dept is a Law Enforcement agency; and, as such, has limited resources for social rehabilitation. Perhaps your concern should be directed toward the judge(s) or probation department or mental health department instead each of which has more latitude in matters such as this, than a mere Law Enforcement Officer). Did I mention that Law Enforcement Officers enforce laws? They are not charged with alcohol rehab, only arresting the drunk and getting them into the system. It is up to others to provide any “help” needed.


jimmy_me

Send this guy back to Nevada.


south

There’s an old but true saying. “When seconds count, the cops are minutes away.” In defense of them though, had they arrested him on an H&S5150, he would have been released by mental health prior to the cop finishing the paperwork required to commit him for 72 hours.