A dispute over land usage rights near Stockton has resulted in criminal charges for a Texas man.
According to a probable cause statement, a couple who said they had leased rights to a piece of property south of Stockton that had been sold to a new owner in September, took the new locks off the gates in order to get into the lot on Monday.
The new owner, Tom Barnes, 72, of Houston, came onto the property and told the couple to give the locks to him, and when they protested for fear of being locked out, according to the statement, Barnes went to his vehicle and allegedly returned with a handgun.
The couple said Barnes seated a magazine in the gun and slid a bullet into the chamber, then allegedly pointed the gun at their faces, according to the statement. The couple gave the locks to Barnes and watched him drive away, according to the statement, then drove to the gas station in Stockton to report the incident.
After a deputy had responded and heard the story, a vehicle passed by the gas station and the couple identified it as belonging to Barnes, according to the statement. Because of Barnes’ reported volatility, the deputy requested backup from two other deputies and a trooper from the Utah Highway Patrol, according to the statement.
The deputy stopped the vehicle and asked Barnes if he would be willing to discuss the incident, according to the statement. Barnes told the deputy he felt threatened during the incident and got his handgun from his vehicle for protection, according to the statement, and did point it at the couple.
Barnes’ wife, who had been inside the vehicle during the incident, said she hadn’t paid attention to the encounter, but saw her husband come back to the vehicle for his gun and then turned her face because she knew her husband was angry and didn’t know what he might do, according to the statement.
Barnes was charged Wednesday with two counts of aggravated assault, a third-degree felony. He is set to make his initial appearance in 3rd District Court on Tuesday.