Police say gun man pointed at officer in standoff was plastic

Becky Campbell • Nov 16, 2013 at 4:06 PM

The gun a Johnson City man pointed at police Thursday after he became irate over a visit from an Animal Control officer turned out to be a black and silver plastic weapon, a court document filed in the case said.

Arnold L. Ebalo, 57, 715 E. Fairview Ave., was arrested after the incident on three counts of aggravated assault and vandalism. He was arraigned on the charges Friday morning in Washington County Sessions Court.

An affidavit filed in court said Animal Control Officer Wayne Thomas went to Ebalo’s residence to investigate a complaint about Ebalo mistreating his animals. When Thomas pulled up in front of the house, Ebalo walked down to the Animal Control truck.

Thomas told Ebalo why he was there and Ebalo became irate and started kicking the truck. Thomas drove to New Street and called 911, but as he was driving away he told police he heard Ebalo say he “had a .357 and I will blow your ass off.”

Patrol officers arrived to assist Thomas and approached the house from the rear when Thomas heard Ebalo yell “I will shoot your ass.”

Thomas pulled back around to the house and warned officers about the threat and that he could see Ebalo on the porch with a handgun.

Ebalo “came around the side of the house and stopped at the rear door where he raised the gun in his hand and pointed it at officers,” Investigator Michael Barron wrote in the affidavit.

Ebalo ran inside his residence, but emerged a short time later and was arrested. Just before he came out of the house, his mother walked out with the weapon and threw it into the yard.

Police said the weapon turned out to be plastic.

While officers were investigating the scene, Thomas removed four dogs — two Pomeranians, a Daschund and a pit bull — for their own safety and that of the officers.

On Friday, Thomas said the four dogs were taken to the Washington County/Johnson City Animal Shelter. He said the animals appeared to be in good health except for their “extensively long” toenails.

Three other dogs in Ebalo’s backyard were left and the property owner took responsibility for them, Thomas said.

During his arraignment Friday, Ebalo’s bond was reduced from $150,000 to $75,000. He has a preliminary hearing scheduled Thursday. Ebalo is being held in the Washington County Detention Center.

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