Police: Man holds mother, children at gunpoint for drugs on Schaul Street

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 23, 2013 

Antonio Bell

A mother shielded her children against potential gunfire Thursday when a man returned to their Schaul Street home with a revolver after allegedly demanding drugs from the residents.

Antonio Bell, 25, faced multiple felonies during a Friday morning Recorder's Court hearing. His felony charges include four counts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, burglary, possession of a firearm during a crime, possession of firearms by a convicted felon and felony battery with physical harm.

Misdemeanor charges included five counts of reckless conduct, second degree criminal damage, discharging a firearm while in city limits and disorderly conduct.

Columbus Police Officer Jason Carden told the court that reports of two gunshots brought him to a home on the 2400 block of Schaul Street at about 1 a.m. As he drove down the street, he caught sight of Bell running in the opposite direction and a 22-year-old woman flagging him down.

The woman frantically told Carden that Bell had a weapon. He allegedly threatened her and five other occupants in the residence, three of which were young children.

Bell was quickly apprehended and placed in custody, all the while denying that any weapon existed — a claim which was quickly put to rest when the gun was found in the stove, blood still on the barrel.

While other officers kept Bell in custody, the 22-year-old victim recounted Bell's night at the residence, beginning several hours earlier with his alleged heavy use of narcotics.

Bell, a friend of the victim and her 24-year-old sister, was visiting at the house several hours before police arrived. There were at least three women and three children present during the events.

"The sisters told me that he had been drinking heavily, was high on cocaine, taking Xanax and smoking marijuana all day," Carden said.

Suddenly, Bell began accusing the 22-year-old sister of stealing his marijuana. The victim's defense against the accusation was cut short when Bell allegedly began beating her about the face, hands and back.

He then left the house and returned about an hour later, again demanding his marijuana. This time, he chose to break two windows before leaving once more. He left with the sister's command not to return.

But he did, this time with a revolver. Bell brushed past a family friend who was leaving, gun allegedly already in the air.

"He walked into the house and started waving the gun while being high on cocaine and intoxicated," Carden said.

At one point, Bell aimed his gun at the 22-year-old, who was holding her 1-year-old child to her chest. Several other children came under gunpoint as he waved the weapon about and continued to demand his marijuana.

The women in the house were finally able to get past Bell and usher the children to safety around the time that Carden arrived.

When police examined Bell, he had a laceration on his arm, providing an explanation for the blood on the revolver. Since the gunshots were reported by neighbors and the victims do not remember specifically when Bell discharged his weapon, officers are unsure how many shots were fired and how Bell received his injury.

Bell was taken to The Medical Center, where he allegedly continued his tumultuous behavior by making it difficult for hospital personal to treat him. He was eventually refused treatment and taken to Muscogee County Jail.

During court, Carden responded with a laugh when public defender Charles Lykins questioned whether officers could verify Bell's intoxication through any difficulty in speech or movement.

"He had trouble keeping quiet, not talking," he said.

Judge Michael Cielinski gave Bell 120 days of confinement for his charges of discharging a weapon within city limits and for disorderly conduct within the emergency room. The bond for his other charges was set at $100,000.

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