What started as a quiet morning at the Hannaford in Brandon quickly escalated into a dispute between neighbors. Just after 6 a.m. Tuesday, police got a report of two men arguing in the parking lot.
"Then we started receiving multiple calls about an argument where one of the callers identified that one male had a handgun pointed at the other one," Brandon Police Chief Christopher Brickell said.
When they got there, police say they were uncertain which man was the victim and who had the gun. An officer asked both to stay where they were, but police say Gary Benjamin, 55, left the scene in his vehicle.
"While we were still talking with the victim we had gotten a call from a neighbor where the accused resides, that he was seen leaving his apartment with a rifle and getting into his vehicle with a bag and a rifle," Brickell said.
Police began searching Park Village complex for Benjamin. Police say they have had issues with Mr. Benjamin's health issues in the past, and not knowing where he was with several firearms was not a safe situation.
"We have had some mental health issues with the accused before and this was another one of those types of incidents where things were getting out of hand," Brickell said.
Brickell says Benjamin agreed to meet him at the Estabrook Field and was taken in without incident. Police recovered the handgun and rifle, as well as several knives.
Benjamin was arraigned on an aggravated assault charge in Rutland Criminal court and is being held for lack of $10,000 bail.
No shots were fired, but in the affidavit the victim stated the gun was physically touching his head when Benjamin pointed it at him. He said, "I was scared to death. I thought his life was over."
If convicted, Benjamin could face 15 years in prison.
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