Text message leads to assault, drug charges

By: Brad D. Bates | Shelby - Utica News | Published January 16, 2013

UTICA — Utica police said they uncovered marijuana and an unregistered, loaded gun within an automobile after receiving a call for help from a woman claiming she was being held against her will Jan. 3.

A woman called Utica police headquarters at roughly 4 a.m. and reported that a friend had sent her a text message requesting that police be sent to her Kensington Street residence.

“You’re not getting information firsthand, so you don’t know if what you’re getting is accurate or if they’re downplaying things or up-playing things, so you don’t know,” Utica Police Chief David Faber said of dealing with calls from third-party participants.

Upon arrival, police saw the reported victim and her husband sitting at the kitchen table talking. After making visual contact through a window, the woman motioned for the officers to enter the residence.

As one officer spoke with the woman, another officer escorted the man, a 25-year-old Sterling Heights resident, out of the home.

The man told the officer that nothing had happened between himself and his common-law wife, and that if she had asked him to leave, he would have.

The officer who had been speaking with the woman exited the house and placed the man in handcuffs after the woman told police the suspect had a gun and had pointed the gun at her while he was driving earlier that night.

The woman alleged she and the man had argued while eating at roughly 10 p.m., and that while driving on the M-53 expressway, she felt the gun on her head and the man said, “I’ll kill you.”

The woman then said she attempted to flee from the car on several occasions but was not allowed to leave while the man drove around for several hours. The pair then returned to the woman’s home at roughly 4 a.m.

Once home, the woman sent the text message requesting help from the police to the friend.

During a search of the suspect, police did not find a firearm, but the man reportedly told them it was secured in a case in the trunk of his vehicle.

The man allowed the officers to search his vehicle, and as officers opened the driver’s side door, he told them the gun was under the driver’s seat, loaded.

Police said they located the gun, a black 9 mm semiautomatic pistol, where the man claimed.

The man reportedly said he had received it from his brother, who lives out of state, and that it was not registered. The man did not have a license to carry the firearm, or any firearms registered in his name, according to police.

After police ran the gun’s serial number through their computer, it returned with no record.

“No record means that it’s not wanted, not stolen and not suspected of being used in any crimes,” Faber said.

While searching the vehicle, police located roughly two grams of marijuana, a glass pipe and a burnt marijuana cigarette. The man admitted to smoking marijuana earlier that night, according to police.

Police said they located a black case in the trunk of the vehicle with 50 rounds of 9 mm ammunition.

The gun, marijuana and $400, which was forfeited because of the marijuana possession, were taken as evidence, and police sought charges of illegally possessing a firearm, felony domestic assault and possession of marijuana.

“It doesn’t appear that the prosecutor is going to charge him with anything to do with the gun,” Faber said.

“They’re just going to go with the domestic aspect of it. (The alleged gun play) was she-said-he-said, and (the prosecutor’s office) made their determination in how they want to proceed.”