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Gun Store Owner’s “Bad Feeling” about Gun Buyer Results in Arrest of Burglar

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Published on: March 26, 2016

Sometimes trusting your gut turns out to be just the right thing. Take, for instance, the recent news regarding the owner of Downs Bait and Guns in Athens, Ohio, who foiled the attempt of a burglar to purchase a gun from his store based on a “bad feeling” he had about the man.

Twenty-five-year-old James Howard entered the gun store and sought to buy a rifle. After passing a background check, store owner John Downs still was not confident about selling Howard the weapon.

“The look on his face, his eyes. I just knew something was wrong,” Downs told WBNS. “I said ‘I can’t sell you the gun. I said I got a bad feeling about this, and I’m not going to sell it to you.'”

Downs said the 25 year old became angry and left the store. That’s when Downs called police. Howard was later arrested him and charged him with burglary and weapons under a disability.

WBNS reports on what took place before the incident at the store:

The Hocking County Sheriff’s Office says a former Ohio University student underwent a mental evaluation Wednesday after an alleged violent incident on campus.

The Ohio University Police Department says the incident started on campus Monday morning at the Bird Ice Arena.

Officers say 25-year-old James Howard entered the arena and forced his way into the Assistant Hockey Coach’s office, while attempting to hit him.

OUPD immediately issued warrants for Howard’s arrest and believed he had fled Athens County.

Howard had driven 30 miles to the store to obtain a gun, which he told his friend he was going to do, according to police.

As for Downs, he has no regrets over the decision he made not to sell the gun to Howard.

“I did what I did and I’m glad I did it,” Downs said. “No I don’t need to make that sale. That little bit of money is not worth the headaches.”

Apparently, Howard has a 25 year history of mental health issues and had previously been admitted to a mental health facility.

According to the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, they believe Downs stopped what could have been a tragic incident.

The sheriff’s office also said that there may also be other charges added against Howard in the future.

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