Report: Man pointed pistol after incident of 'road rage'

tstevens@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 10, 2014 

Joshua Vardeman

A man once accused of smuggling a gun into the Carmike 15 theater a month after the 2012 Aurora, Colo., shooting had a “road rage incident” on Wednesday, according to a Columbus police report.

Joshua L. Vardeman, 24, was arrested and charged Thursday with pointing a pistol at another person after he turned himself into the Columbus Police Department. He was released on bond that same day.

During the incident, Vardeman was driving on Airport Thruway near Interstate 185 when he allegedly pointed a gun at three people. No injuries were reported.

One of the people in the other car reported they were driving on Airport Thruway when Vardeman suddenly cut them off. Driving a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero in the right hand lane, Vardeman swerved into their lane, they reported.

The person said it seemed like Vardeman was trying to hit their vehicle. After honking and slowing down, the person reported he pulled up beside them. When they looked, he was reportedly pointing a pistol at them.

They said they were able to obtain Vardeman’s license plate number after he pulled ahead of them.

Cpl. Mike Miller was able to locate Vardeman at his Clearwater Drive address later that night. The person in the other car said Miller gave Vardeman the opportunity to turn himself in because he allegedly admitted to the offense and appeared remorseful for his actions.

Vardeman’s attorney, Richard Hagler, declined Friday afternoon to comment on the incident or on the outcome of the case in which Vardeman allegedly carried a 9 mm automatic handgun, ammunition and four knives in his laptop bag into the Carmike 15 theater at Columbus Park Crossing during a midnight showing of the Sylvester Stallone action movie, “The Expendables 2.”

During that incident, Vardeman’s car was searched for explosives by the local Hazardous Device Response Team. None were found, but the search did produce 100 9 mm rounds and a hunting knife.

Vardeman was arrested in August 2012 in August 2012and charged with misdemeanor carrying a concealed weapon, misdemeanor carrying a pistol without a license and misdemeanor carrying a deadly weapon into a public gathering.

The incident occurred during the same period that bomb threats were being called into the Carmike 15. It came a month after 12 people were killed in Aurora during a premiere showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

In September 2012, prosecutors were examining whether Vardeman could be brought to trial, or whether his charges could be changed to felonies.

“We’ve had some preliminary indications that there may be some issues we need to look to see if he’s competent to stand trial,” then Columbus Solicitor General Ben Richardson said in a Sept. 28, 2012 Ledger-Enquirer article. “You’ve got to have the intent, and you’ve got to have the act. If you’re not in the right frame of mind, you can’t form that intent.”

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