Gun Permit Holder Charged after Pulling Gun on Tenant

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OTTUMWA, Iowa -- A dispute between a landlord and his tenant got out of control, with the landlord pulling a gun -- and it was all caught on video.

The video shows Johnie Eakins of Ottumwa exchanging words with his tenant, Westley Vaughan back in March. Vaughan approaches Eakins, who has a permit to carry a gun, and Eakins draws his weapon.

"You come and threaten me? Get on the ground. On the ground. You're going to jail," Eakins said. He can be heard saying, "I'll pull the trigger."

The video shows Eakins holding the gun to Vaughan's chest, his finger on the trigger the whole time. Eakins called police and several times he threatens to shoot Vaughan.

"You (expletive) with me and you're gonna die," Eakins said. He can be heard saying, "He can't threaten me. I've got a concealed weapons permit that I can protect myself."

Police came and arrested Eakins for assault with a dangerous weapon. Officers say, in Iowa, people with a valid permit can only draw their weapons if they feel they or someone else is in imminent danger of serious harm or death. They must also, if possible, try to remove themselves from the situation. There is no "stand your ground" law in Iowa.

"He actually took two or three steps forward and engaged the individual and therefore it's kind of a different circumstance," said Ottumwa Police Lieutenant Jason Bell. "He had ample opportunity where he could have left the scene or called police prior to escalating to the confrontation when he had to draw his weapon."

Eakins says when Vaughan approached him, he had a large hunting knife in his hand and slashed Eakins leg.

"I walked over to my truck, getting ready to get in and he come charging over there after me. At the very last moment, I drew my pistol and took him down and knocked the knife away," Eakins said.

But we slowed down the video, and we could not see a knife in Vaughn's hand. Police did not find a knife either, but Eakins says a friend of his found the knife the next day and turned it over to police.

Eakins says he stands by his decision to pull his weapon.

"I was defending myself and defending my honor," Eakins said. "I been to Vietnam, I'm not gonna get stabbed again."


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