ROSWELL, Ga. (WIAT) — Tarrant Fire Chief Jason Rickels was arrested in Georgia Friday after an altercation with a group of individuals in which Rickles smashed a man’s camera on the ground and pulled out a gun.
According to an incident report from the Roswell Police Department, the incident took place at a residence owned by Rickles and his wife that they have up for sale.
The group of individuals included a realtor, makeup artist and a photography crew who had scheduled a viewing of the home Friday afternoon. The group, made up of 8-10 people according to the report, was asked to leave after Rickles’ wife saw the group enter the home on a Ring camera and interpreted their visit as a “scam” to burglarize the house.
The group left the home as Jason Rickles drove up to the scene and began questioning the group outside the residence. According to one of the victims, he said he showed Jason Rickles his camera and said he was taking photos of the house as part of the scheduled viewing.
The incident report then says Jason Rickles took the man’s camera and smashed it on the ground. In the report, Rickles says he thought the camera was a gun and that is why he destroyed it.
The investigating officer says he believes Rickles then pulled a gun from his shorts and pointed it at the group after smashing the camera. Rickles told police that the group began “cussing” and “approached [him] aggressively” with one man having his hand in the waistband of his pants which Rickles said he interpreted as the man having a firearm. That’s when Rickles says he took out his gun from his shorts.
Rickles would go on to say in the report that no other individual ever brandished a firearm other than himself.
Police arrived on the scene and found Rickles and his wife in the street with three of the members of the group including the man whose camera was destroyed. The officer took statements from both parties. Rickles’ wife went inside the residence and discovered nothing was taken from the home.
Rickles was then charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree criminal damage to property and possession of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony. He was booked at the Fulton County Jail on a $7,500 bond.
The city of Tarrant has released a statement on Rickles arrest saying the city is taking it “very seriously and is looking into violations of city policy.”