Grand Island police arrested Americo Reyes Jr. after someone reported to police that a man was pointing a gun at passing motorists.
The incident took place at 1015 E. Fourth St. at 12:10 p.m. Friday. According to the police report, officers were dispatched to the 1000 block of East Fourth Street following a report that a person was pointing a gun at passing motorists.
The motorist who called in the incident told police that he was concerned for “his safety and the safety of other passing motorists,” the police report says.
The man reported by the motorist was later identified as Reyes. When officers arrived on scene, they observed Reyes with what they believed was a handgun. When officers approached Reyes, they discovered that he had a stick in his hand that looked like a gun.
Police secured Reyes with handcuffs. When he was searched by officers, they located a pack of cigarettes with what officers described as a “crystalline substance” in the bottom of the cigarette pack. That substance was later found to be meth.
Police said Reyes was carrying the cigarettes in his right sweatpants zip-up pocket.
He was arrested for terroristic threats and possession of a controlled substance.
Even though Reyes was pointing a stick instead of a gun, Capt. Jim Duering of the Grand Island Police Department said it was still a dangerous situation to both the public and to law enforcement.
Duering said when Reyes was approached by police, he dropped the stick right away.
“The officers said that when he turned around and it was in his hand, that it looked like a gun the way he was holding it and the shape of it,” he said. “He dropped it right away and nobody got hurt, but it could have went the wrong away in a pretty big hurry. It is the kind of thing that officers have to make a split-second decision on.”
National statistics show that violent crime has fallen by 70 percent over the last 25 years, but the rate of mass shootings has nearly quadrupled over the same period.
Duering said there is no motive for Reyes’ actions other than “the fact that he was potentially under the influence of a controlled substance weighs in. I don’t know if rational decision-making was probably something he was doing very well at the time of our contact.”