Driver allegedly pulls gun in Little League parking lot dispute in Kennewick

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldMay 15, 2014 

A West Richland man pleaded innocent Thursday to allegations he threatened to blow a driver's head off after she took a parking spot he'd been waiting for at a Kennewick Little League ballpark.

John Frank DeCarlo, 70, is accused of confronting the woman as she sat in her car and pointing his holstered handgun at her while making threats.

After the woman and her husband drove off in fear for their safety, DeCarlo allegedly pulled his car into the parking spot and went to watch a baseball game.

DeCarlo is charged in Benton County Superior Court with felony harassment and unlawful display of a weapon. His trial is scheduled July 14.

DeCarlo had been in custody on $5,000 bail since his arrest Saturday afternoon. He appeared in court with attorney Scott Johnson, and Judge Vic VanderSchoor lowered bail to $1,500. He was released from the Benton County jail later Thursday.

DeCarlo was in his vehicle waiting for another car to pull out of a spot at the Kennewick American Youth Baseball fields on Olympia Street, according to Kennewick police and court documents.

After the car left and before DeCarlo could move into the space, Geraldine Stuk backed her own vehicle into the spot. DeCarlo became angry because he believed he was entitled to the space, so he got out of his vehicle and approached the driver's side of Stuk's vehicle, documents said.

There were multiple Little League games in progress at the time and about 300 people in the ballpark, including a number of people who reportedly witnessed the exchange between DeCarlo and Stuk.

DeCarlo allegedly yelled at Stuk to "move your (expletive)," which led the 66-year-old Stuk to reply that he shouldn't be talking to her in that manner.

That's when witnesses said DeCarlo pulled out a handgun, which was still in a holster with the barrel visible, court documents said.

He then pointed the gun and holster at Stuk and said, "I don't know who you are, but I'm the guy who's going to blow your (expletive) head off if you park in that spot," several witnesses said.

Stuk later told officers she didn't know what DeCarlo was pointing at her because she was focused on his words, but husband and passenger Leo Stuk saw it was a gun and told his wife to drive away.

The Stuks were fearful that DeCarlo would carry out his threats, so they waited to get a safe distance away from the ballpark before calling 911. At the same time, a witness called for help.

The responding officers immediately asked parents and children closest to that area of the parking lot to move away for their own safety. One baseball field and its dugouts also were cleared of players.

Police saw a woman, later identified as DeCarlo's girlfriend, go to his vehicle and open the driver's side door, court documents said. Officers contacted her, saw a firearm in a holster in the door pocket and removed the loaded .22-caliber Phoenix Arms handgun.

DeCarlo was detained as he sat at one of the fields.

He claimed that when he confronted Stuk about taking his parking spot, she asked him what he was going to do about it, so he replied that he was going to beat the crap out of her. He said Stuk drove away at that point.

DeCarlo denied ever pointing his gun at the driver, but said he gestured toward it and made a point of showing her he had a gun, court documents said.

DeCarlo said "he is fed up with this type of behavior, especially from women, and then made vulgar and derogatory comments about women to the officer," Deputy Prosecutor Kristin McRoberts wrote. "A witness also described (DeCarlo) as yelling vulgar comments at Ms. Stuk as she drove away after (he) threatened her."

DeCarlo was ordered by the judge not to possess any firearms and to have no contact with Geraldine and Leo Stuk while the case is pending.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @KristinMKraemer

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