KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A 41-year-old Knoxville man is facing nine counts of aggravated assault after he allegedly approached a group of people in a parking lot Sunday night and pointed a firearm at them. The suspect later told arresting officers the firearm was a pellet gun.
An arrest report states William Sluder, 41, lived adjacent to the parking lot where the people had been gathered, talking on Sunday, Dec. 26 when Sluder allegedly walked out of his residence, waved a black firearm, cocked it and told the group he was going to shoot them. The group told investigators they did not know why he was threatening them but his actions made them fear for their lives.
When officers arrived at the scene, Sluder had a firearm in his waistband and approached officers, ignoring their commands to raise his hands. The report also states Sluder reached for his handgun in his waistband and officers were able to grab him and physically remove the firearm from him. They maneuvered Sluder to the ground and placed him in handcuffs.
Once in custody, Sluder told officers the firearm was “just a pellet gun” and continued to resist officers while being placed into the back of a patrol vehicle. Officers reported a “heavy smell of alcohol on Sluder’s breath, and Sluder had slurred speech.” Sluder admitted to having two shots of bourbon prior to officers’ arrival.
Sluder told officers he had observed the group of people speeding past his residence and had the pellet gun when approaching them because of how many people there were; he denied ever pointing the gun at them. He is facing nine counts of aggravated assault and resisting arrest. His arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 13.