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Holdup scare in Freeland ends peacefully
Held at gunpoint Sunday night, Kristina Camatti wasn't going anywhere until police arrived.
Sitting in the restaurant portion of the Freeland Service Center on Fish Road, Camatti had her children to think about. She, her husband and her children -- ages 7 and 10 -- had just gotten to the eatery in the Shell station convenience store at the service center when a man with a gun came in and started threatening store employees.
"We heard stuff hit the ground and yelling," she said. "At that point, my kids freaked out."
The man with the gun, 30-year-old Curtis Scott Leonard, had apparently come into the store at about 6:25 p.m. with a chip on his shoulder and alcohol on his breath. According to the Island County Sheriff's Office, Leonard punched the store's assistant manager, Colin Armstrong, in the chest after telling a woman in the store that the building was an "abomination." After recovering from the punch, Armstrong pulled a baseball bat from behind the counter. That is when Leonard pulled his gun -- a .177 caliber Marksman air pistol styled to look like a real handgun -- and waved it at the store employees.
None of the people in the store knew the weapon was a non-lethal gun. In the ensuing minutes, Leonard went on a destructive rampage through the store. He ripped off the top of a $6,000 cash register and threw it on the floor. Screaming and yelling, he then pulled an 18-pack of Budweiser from a cooler, then threw it at Armstrong. He missed, went back to the cooler for another 18-pack, then walked out of the store.
The entire time, people in the store -- like Camatti and her family -- were watching in fear, hoping law enforcement would show up soon. Camatti said it took about 15 minutes before the first sheriff's deputies arrived. Camatti said that had she known the gun was not deadly, she would have attacked Leonard herself.
Leonard was arrested in the parking lot of the convenience store, where he had dropped his 18-pack of beer. Three deputies responded to a 911 call generated by the gun threat.
After the arrest, the deputies compiled ample evidence to jail Leonard. His actions were caught on the convenience store's security camera and seven witnesses related the events of the evening.
As of Monday, Leonard was sitting in Island County Jail. Sheriff Mike Hawley said the man was uncooperative and was not volunteering any information about himself. Jail personnel did manage to find out his name, but even on Tuesday did not know his place of residence.
He will be held in Island County Jail until charges are filed and bail is set.
No one was seriously injured in the incident.