A 60-year-old man was taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies for not handing over more than two dozen firearms that were in his possession.
The man refused to give deputies his guns because he said he did not take the Risk Protection Order or RPO serious and was frustrated, according to the man’s judgment report.
The statute for the RPO states “A person who has in his or her custody or control a firearm or any ammunition or who purchases, possesses, or receives a firearm or any ammunition knowledge that he or she is prohibited from doing so by an order issued under this section commits a felony of the third degree.”
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Deputies encounter with William Paul Fotea
On Feb. 6, deputies were called to the 21100 block of Northwest 106th Court Road in Micanopy about shots fired in the community. When deputies arrived, they spoke with William Paul Fote who said a child was under his shed. He claimed juveniles would sneak onto his property and steal from him.
Fote showed deputies pictures of what he believes are minors in his attic. He alleged the children put markings in his trees. He said he called the Sheriff’s Office multiple times to report the incidents, but nothing has been done.
According to the report, deputies said they did not see any children in the pictures shown to them, had no calls for service and did not see where a child could fit under his shed.
Deputies interviewed three neighbors about Fote. One neighbor said Fote has been firing shots in Fote’s yard for roughly six months. The neighbor said Fote has shown him pictures he claimed showed children on the property, but the neighbor said he didn’t see in children in the pictures.
The other neighbors said Fote regularly fire shots into his own yard and they fear he may shoot someone. One neighbor said Fote pointed a rifle at another neighbor’s home thinking he saw a stranger in the trees.
Fote was placed under the Baker Act by deputies who went to a judge for a RPO. Circuit Judge R. Gregg Jerald signed the order on Wednesday that allows deputies to seize any guns Fote has inside his residence.
The next day, a deputy went to Fote’s residence and gave him a copy of the RPO. Fote declined to hand over his guns, saying he did not have any weapons.
Refusing to surrender his guns, a deputy got a search warrant on Thursday and it was signed by Circuit Judge Lisa Herndon on the same day.
Deputies returned to Fote’s residence and found 25 firearms and multiple rounds of ammunition throughout the home. Most of the guns were handguns, deputies said.
Fote was charged with 25 counts of RPO and transported to the Marion County Jail for booking. As of Saturday afternoon, Fote was still at the jail on $25,000 bond.
Contact Austin L. Miller at 867-4118, [email protected] or @almillerosb.
This article originally appeared on Ocala Star-Banner: Sheriff’s officials got a search warrant and seized the guns