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ME- Man arrested with rifle complained of 'pedophiles'

5-18-2009 Maine:

Herbert Jones, 46, said he was targeting people in an AA meeting in a church behind Portland High School. A school resource officer nabbed him.

5:30 p.m.

PORTLAND -- Portland police say a man arrested with a high-powered rifle this morning outside an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a church basement claimed there were pedophiles inside.

School Resource Officer Stephen Black was securing Portland High School at 8 a.m. when he spotted a man loading a rifle in what is commonly referred to as “Freshman Alley” behind the school. Black approached the man from behind and ordered him to drop the rifle.

Herbert Jones, 46, of Valley Street, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, terrorizing, stalking and possessing a firearm in a school zone. His target, apparently, were people attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the basement of the First Parish Unitarian Church, which abuts the alley. Police say there was no connection to the school andstudents were never in any danger.

Another man, Walter Begaye, 43, of Portland was sitting in the passenger seat of Jones’ BMW convertible when Jones was arrested. Begaye was charged with having a concealed weapon after a knife was found underneath the seat he was sitting in.

Police also recovered a shotgun and four knives from the car and another rifle from Jones’ house.

Jones told police that he believed there were pedophiles in the meeting and said that an ex-girlfriend had once been abused when she was a child.

Jones, who attended the early morning meeting on previous occasions but had been told to leave for inappropriate behavior, had become increasingly obsessive about a girl who attended the AA meetings, according to court documents. That woman, who had not had a romantic relationship with him, told police that he refused to stop calling her and would often buy hergifts though she asked him not to.

Jones is being held on $100,000 bail at Cumberland County Jail pending an initial court appearance.

1:03 p.m.

PORTLAND -- Portland police have scheduled a 2:30 p.m. news conference today to discuss details of the arrest of a man who was found loading a hunting rifle outside a downtown church.

11:55 a.m.

PORTLAND -- Portland police averted what could have been a violent tragedy this morning when a school resource officer arrested a man loading a hunting rifle outside a downtown church.

Officer Stephen Black was checking the doors at 8 a.m. as part of his normal routine at Portland High School and saw a car parked in Freshman Alley nearby.

Standing outside the car, a man was loading a hunting rifle.

Black pulled his gun and ordered the man to drop the rifle. Police also recovered a shotgun. Another man was also charged, although his name and the charges were not immediately available.

No shots were fired and nobody was injured.

Police arrested Herbert Jones, 46, of Portland charging him with several felonies, including stalking, possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of a firearm in a school zone, authorities said.

Police believe that Jones planned to harm someone inside the nearby First Parish Church at the corner of Temple and Congress streets.

Portland High School Principal Michael Johnson said: "At no time was the school in any kind of danger. It has absolutely nothing to do with the school."

Jones is being held on $100,000 bail. ..News Source.. by DAVID HENCH, Staff Writer

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