A 17-year-old seen coming in an exit of the AMC Theater at Orange Park Mall on Christmas night was arrested after an off-duty Clay County deputy reported finding a handgun in the teen's waistband.
“I think that we all in hearing about this incident, kind of are relieved to know that the deputies are there and that they do intervene and disarm this type of person,” said Mary Justino with the Clay County Sheriff's Office.
According to the arrest report, Cahari Anderson was confronted by Deputy Chris Ruby and asked to leave. When Anderson threatened to return to the theater in violation of the deputy's orders, then resisted being led outside, he was taken to the ground.
The Sheriff's Office report said at that point Anderson told the deputy he had a gun, and the 9mm weapon was found.
"It wasn’t visible, it wasn’t until he physically had him in custody and the young man actually acknowledged that he had a gun on him, that the deputy located that," said Justino.
He was arrested on charges of having a concealed firearm, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence. Once booked, deputies learned there were three active Duval County warrants for Anderson's arrest.
Clay County authorities say Anderson did not threaten anyone with the weapon or indicate why he was carrying a gun.
"While we do not know this teenager's intentions or motives, Deputy Ruby at the very least intervened to thwart a potentially dangerous situation in the making," said Justino.
With the country on high alert after the shooting in Newtown, CT, deputies weren't taking any chances.
"We’re all more aware and we all still want to go and live our lives and go to movies and go out shopping but we do need to be more aware that there are people out there who may have other ideas," added Justino.
Anderson was transferred to the Duval County Detention Center.
The Sheriff's Office points out that off-duty deputies are scattered across Clay County, some in plain clothes to guard against potentially dangerous situations like this one.