A gun store owner is being credited for preventing a massacre at Ohio University after he refused to sell a gun to a person who allegedly gave off a sinister vibe.
John Downs, the owner of Downs Bait and Guns, said former Ohio University student James Howard passed a background check when attempting to buy a rifle but “the look on his face, his eyes” alerted him to the fact that something was not right.
“I said, ‘I can’t sell you the gun,’” Downs told the WBNS-TV. “I said, ‘I got a bad feeling about this, and I’m not going to sell it to you.’”
The man became angry and at one point starting swearing at the store owner. He eventually left the shop only to come back an hour later.
This time, after once again turning down the former Ohio University hockey player, Downs closed his shop, told his employees to hide, loaded three guns and called 911 to report his suspicions.
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It turned out that the gun store owner’s gut instincts were right on track. Howard had entered the university’s hockey arena, stormed his way into the office of the assistant hockey coach and tried to hit him, the campus police reported.
Warrants for his arrest were issued by the Ohio University police, who believe he fled the county. Police discovered from a friend that Howard intended to buy a gun.
The Hocking County Sheriff’s Office found the university student’s vehicle in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Inside the store, Howard was in the process of buying a “large quantity of ammunition, gloves and camouflage clothing.”
Howard is now being held on $35,000 bond. If convicted, he faces 13 years in prison and a $25,000 in fine.
As for John Downs, he is being hailed as a hero.
“I believe he did prevent a mass shooting that was probably going to occur at Ohio University in Athens,” said Hocking County Sheriff Lanny North.