Conway police arrested a Tennessee man early Tuesday morning after he told an officer that "the Lord" had sent him on a mission to stop evildoers "by shooting them in the face," according to the officer’s report.
The man, 55-year-old Lyle Kenneth Blair of Jamestown, Tenn., was being held for screening by Counseling Associates on Wednesday.
The officer was dispatched to a disturbance at the Exxon fuel station at 811 East Oak St. at about 10:30 p.m. Monday, where he was told by two men in their early 20s that a suspect described as an older white male on a maroon "trike," a three-wheeled, motorcycle-style vehicle, had tried to get into a fight with them.
One of those men was 25-year-old David Beard of Vilonia, who was on leave from service with the U.S. Navy. Beard said Wednesday, as he was driving to California to report for duty, that he and his girlfriend were outside the gas station fuelling up his Suzuki "cruiser" motorcycle when Blair pulled up near them.
"He pulled up and revved up his bike really loud ... and yelled across ‘that’s the ugliest mother-blanking motorcycle I’ve ever seen,’ but of course he said the word," Beard said. "I said ‘thank you,’ just trying to ignore him, and he yelled it again. He said ‘you shouldn’t go over 100 miles per hour on that thing.’"
When Blair started threatening another man, Beard said he told his girlfriend to go inside the gas station as he tried to intervene and calm him down.
"He looked at me and started walking toward me," Beard said. "He said ‘Do you want something from me too?’ and started coming toward me yelling louder and louder ... pretty much going nuts, saying he wants to tear me apart, I guess trying to get in a fight with me. I just kept trying to tell him ‘Sir, you need to settle down, get back on your bike and leave.’"
Beard said he was looking for Blair to make a move for a concealed weapon or for any bulges in his clothes that might be a handgun. He said he didn’t see any, and kept backing away toward the door of the gas station.
Blair eventually did leave. Police found his "trike" parked in the driveway of a nearby motel, and found Blair walking along East Oak Street. He told police the Lord had told him to park his vehicle there and "walk down the road," according to the report.
He went on to explain to police that the Lord had first told him to go to Utah, but then told him to go to Colorado. "Blair stated that he could sense evil and that he was going to stop evil before it hurt the innocent, by shooting them in the face," the officer wrote in the report.
He told police he "wanted to fight the guy at the gas station because he was riding a sports bike," according to the officer’s report. "When I told Blair the guy was on a cruiser he started apologizing."
Police didn’t find a weapon on him, but he did have a Tennessee-issued concealed-carry permit and in his "trike’s" storage compartment was a box of .410 "self-defense" shotgun shells designed to be fired from a short-barreled pistol.
Johnny Murphy, a deputy with the Fentress County Sheriff’s Office, Blair’s home county, said Blair didn’t have a criminal history there, but that he knew Blair "pretty well" and that his behavior had recently been strange, with Blair telling locals that "God had sent him to do this or that."
Murphy also said that Blair’s family has been worried about him since he "just kind of spur-of-the-moment bought the (trike) and just took off."
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at email@example.com. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)