Man arrested after carrying airsoft shotgun in Mishawaka and South Bend

NOW: Man arrested after carrying airsoft shotgun in Mishawaka and South Bend

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. -- Around 8:00am this morning, officers from the St. Joe County Police Department were called out near Capital Road and McKinley Highway, after seeing a man wearing a mask and sunglasses, carrying what looked like a pump-action shotgun. 

Police closed Capital Road down, and evacuated some residents living nearby, trying to figure out what was going on. 

“Without knowing what his intentions were, our officers tried to engage him at least in a conversation," said St. Joseph County Sheriff William Redman. "He refused to talk to our officers, so they then called in for assistance. Multiple jurisdictions arrived just to determine what, if anything was going on.”

The individual did use sign language, but did not engage with the interpreters brought in. 

Using drone footage, officers were able to determine the gun carried was an airsoft gun-- designed to fire plastic BBs, not live ammunition.

Around 11:30am, the individual was free to go, and headed down McKinley Highway. The roads opened up shortly afterward.

“Walking down the sidewalk or the roadway with a long gun is not illegal," Redman said. "He did not do anything illegal at the time that we were aware of, but we did have obvious concerns from the citizens who called those complaints in.”

Curious about his intentions-- I managed to find the individual walking into South Bend.

I caught up with him on Jefferson Avenue, with the airsoft shotgun in one hand and a baby rabbit in the other.

I tried communicating with him, and while he seemed to understand, he used sign language to communicate with me. I handed him my notebook and he wrote a message: "I know who you are. Thanks! Go in peace." He continued to walk down Jefferson.

Despite him seemingly only carrying an airsoft gun, community members were taken aback by the situation.

“That is scary, since I’ve got three kids myself. Little kids," Daniel Zeiger, who lives near Capital Road, told me.  “I’m for guns. If they want to have guns that’s their right, but as long as they have the correct permits and don’t come on my land. It’d be a shame if they get close, of course I’d have to get my kids in the house and make sure they’re safe. It is scary.”

The individual was later tased and put in handcuffs by the South Bend Police Department around 3:00pm. It is currently unclear what charges, if any, he faces.

ABC57 will provide updates as soon as they are available. 

UPDATE: The individual has been identified as Stenis Lowery. He has not been formally charged yet, but he was due to appear in court sometime on July 5. 

He is currently being housed in the St. Joe County Jail. 

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