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Fayetteville police arrest man who threatened victim at gunpoint in parking lot

Fayetteville police have made an arrest after officers responded to the parking lot of 4078 N. College Ave. to reports of an armed male.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Fayetteville Police Department (FPD) made an arrest on Wednesday, Sept. 28 after a reported armed suspect in the parking lot of Black Bear Diner on College Avenue. 

According to the police report, officers responded to the parking lot of 4078 N. College after multiple witnesses called 911 and reported a man was holding another man at gunpoint.

One witness says he was waiting for a friend when nearly half a dozen police officers arrived.

"There was a lot going through my mind," said Israel Rodriguez. "I was like 'do I leave, do I not, do I stay here?' and at that moment I knew that whenever I saw the officers, I was like, 'okay, I need to leave'."

Reports show that the victim, who has not been named by police, had attempted to reverse into a parking spot located in the parking lot of Black Bear Diner which caused his vehicle to block a small majority of the thoroughfare of the lot. A vehicle then drove around a corner and proceeded to stop directly in front of the victim's car.

After attempting to find out why the vehicle had stopped in front of him, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as suspect Harris Freeman, exited the vehicle and pointed the gun at the victim. Freeman continued to point his gun at the victim until he got into his car and drove away. 

Sergeant Murphy with FPD says officers arrived shortly after the initial call, to find that the suspect was no longer on the scene. He says the parking lot and surrounding businesses were cleared and are safe.

Sergeant Murphy said while road rage incidents are not uncommon, the escalated actions of Freeman are a concern.

"I think it's fairly often where we have incidents where people lose their cool behind the wheel, but incidents like this where a handgun is pulled or a weapon is pulled is very rare," said Murphy.

Fayetteville officers spoke with witnesses and Freeman is in custody after admitting to threatening to kill the victim while in the parking lot. "Freeman displayed a firearm in such a manner that created a substantial risk of danger of death or serious injury to the victim," the police report says. 

20-year-old Freeman was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threatening, minor in possession of alcohol, driving with a revoked or suspended license, disorderly conduct and carrying a weapon.

Sergeant Murphy praised the responding officers for their actions and was thankful witnesses remained calm. He says the road rage incident shines a light on using caution and not taking other drivers and their actions for granted.

"Just be safe out there," says Murphy. "Be a courteous driver and don't let your temper get the best of you because it could end bad."

Rodriguez is taking that advice to heart, saying he will be more careful on the road and mindful of his own actions.

"It's shocking," said Rodriguez. "Of course things happen and, you know, you never when these things are going to happen."

No one was injured during the incident. The manager of Black Bear Diner tells 5NEWS the restaurant closed early on Wednesday for the safety of staff and customers while Fayetteville PD took statements and investigated.

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