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Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Islander threatens neighbors with gun, arrested

A Holmes Beach man approached a neighbor's home and threatened the residents, visiting friends and the homeowner's dogs Sunday night by brandishing a chrome-plated 9-mm handgun.

Robert Melson, 60, a resident of Avenue C in Holmes Beach was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a weapon after the confrontation, but not without some tense moments.

Melson reportedly approached the residence of Scott and Karen Moore in the 2700 block of Avenue B where several people were gathered for a party. Justin Moore was present and Sandra Wooten, Joe Hutchinson and a juvenile were sitting on the front porch when Melson approached the gate.

Unable to understand Melson, who does not speak well due to a disability, Wooten and Hutchinson approached the gate to converse with him.

Melson made accusations that a white dog had attacked his wife and her dog while they were on a walk earlier in the evening. According to Hutchinson and Wooten, Melson then pulled a 9-mm handgun from a back pocket and pointed it at one of the dogs in the yard. He then raised the gun toward several people, including them. Both Wooten and Hutchinson reported that they heard Melson load a bullet in the gun's chamber.

Wooten rushed the juvenile off the porch and into the home and she immediately called police.

Hutchinson asked Melson to put the gun away and when he responded that he had a permit to carry the gun, Hutchinson says he told him that it didn't give him the right to point the gun at anyone.

When Melson was told the police were on their way, he left the residence.

According to the report, officers recognized the description given by witnesses as matching a suspect involved in an altercation with police in 2002, and responded to Melson's home on Avenue C.

Holmes Beach police officers spoke to Melson's wife outside the residence and she told them that a white dog had attacked her and her dog and her husband was angry. She reportedly stated that her husband took his gun and left the house, and that on returning he went to bed.

The woman called her home on an officer's phone but her husband did not respond. Melson then exited the rear of the house but did not comply with police orders and had to be subdued.

The 9-mm Smith and Wesson gun was then retrieved from inside the home. Witnesses from the party positively identified Melson as the suspect and he was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.