Hunting Accident File > VIOLATIONS > 2007

AR - Rabbit hunting felon arrested for gun possession

January 26, 2007

A Tuckerman man, 44-year-old Thomas R. Dennis Jr., was arrested during a traffic stop Thursday afternoon after he was reportedly seen hiding a rifle next to his car seat.

Deputy Wayne Green said he stopped a Chevrolet Blazer at Highway 69 and 122 around 6:18 p.m. because he couldn’t tell if the vehicle had tags on it.

“As I approached I could see the passenger, identified as Thomas Dennis Jr., stuffing something between the passenger seat he was in and the console,” Green said. “I could see the top of a .22 caliber rifle between the seats, partially covered and a shotgun lying between the seats toward the back of the vehicle, also partially covered.”

“I asked the driver, identified as Gayland G. Keller, 44, of Tuckerman, how many firearms he had in the vehicle and he said ‘two.’ I asked Keller to step out of the vehicle and to step to the back where I patted him down for weapons and asked for consent to search the vehicle and Keller said ‘sure.’”

After checking Dennis for weapons, Green said he conducted a search of the Blazer and checked the guns. According to Green, both guns were fully loaded with a bullet in the chamber of each.

“I asked what they were doing out after dark with loaded weapons, and they said they were coming from rabbit hunting,” Green said.

“I had dispatch run both Keller and Dennis through the computer and found that Dennis was a convicted felon and had already been charged with carrying certain prohibited weapons,” Green said. “I asked Dennis what he was doing with the weapons knowing he was not to have any weapons in his possession and he said they were not his. Keller said that both weapons were his.

“I advised them that I was confiscating the weapons and placed Dennis into custody for possession of firearm by certain persons.”

Green said a Criminal Investigations Division hold was placed on Dennis at the Independence County jail and the guns were placed into an evidence locker.

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