A Lewiston pawn shop owner says he refused to sell a semi-automatic weapon to a man only 24 hours before the man barricaded himself in a Lewiston shop with a loaded rifle and handgun. Police said they eventually talked the man into surrendering his weapons and took him to a local hospital. But it was the second time in only four days that the man had been placed in protective custody.
This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that Eddie Wilson, a salesman at the Orchards Pawn Shop, said the man came into the pawn shop on March 26, looking to trade a revolver for a semi-automatic handgun with a high-capacity magazine. The man said he had earlier been committed to a hospital, but was released, and according to Wilson the man said, "If anybody was going to try to take (his guns) again, he was going to shoot them."
Wilson said the man also made racist remarks and threatened to shoot police if they tried to arrest him.
Wilson said he agreed to hold the man's revolver "as collateral and place the semi-automatic on layaway." When the man left the shop, Wilson said he contacted the police.
But the very next day, the man had an armed standoff with law enforcement.
The Tribune reports that when the man was previously released from the hospital, his firearms were returned to him under constitutional law.
"We are really seriously dropping the ball with helping people who are mentally disturbed," Wilson told the Tribune.