Kevin Gross, the mayor of Derry Borough, Pennsylvania, was arrested Sunday evening after pulling a loaded gun on at least four children at a park near his home.
Gross was arrested by state police and held in county prison on a $20,000 bond.
An argument over a marker leads to arrest
According to police, a fistfight occurred between three boys at a city park on Broad Street in Derry around 8:30pm on Sunday.
“It was over a marker, and some graffiti being drawn on a bench,” explained Pennsylvania State Trooper Stephen Limani. “And it was over the younger children having the marker and not giving the marker back.”
One boy received a scratch on his arm during the scuffle. His father, Mayor Kevin Gross, soon arrived at the park with a loaded “snub-nosed” Smith & Wesson revolver.
State Police say Gross pointed the pistol directly at a 15-year old boy from just a few feet away, forcing him to kneel on the ground.
“You should’ve seen the look on that kid’s face,” passerby Justin Martinez told the Pittsburgh Gazette. “He was terrified. He was on his knees and he didn’t want to move, because this guy had apparently told him he was gonna kill him.”
Police say Gross also pointed his gun at three nearby girls in the park, insisting they place their cellphones and other belongings on a bench. Gross then ordered them not to touch their phones so they could not contact their parents.
Martinez was walking his dog with fellow-Derry-resident Paul Luna when they saw the confrontation in the park. The two men quickly realized there was a problem.
“I thought to myself, something’s not right here,” Luna explained.
According to Martinez, Gross told the children to leave the park once the incident began to draw attention from local residents. Martinez insisted they not.
“I told him no one needs to go anywhere until the police arrive, because the kids need to give a statement,” he said.
State police arrived an hour later. Gross holstered his weapon and surrendered it to the officers. He then admitted to pulling the gun on the children and was arrested.
Luna said he was surprised by the behavior of the Derry mayor, who is “normally just like a normal person.”
“I see him out in the summer cutting his grass sometimes,” he said. “But he looked really mad yesterday. He kind of looked like he was out of it, like something wasn’t right with him.”
Kevin Gross held in county jail
On Monday Gross was charged with three felony counts of aggravated assault, four counts of misdemeanor simple assault, four counts of recklessly endangering another person, and four counts of harassment for using lewd or threatening language.
He is being held in county prison on a $20,000 bond. According to District Judge Mark J. Bilik, Gross says he will not be able to post bail and remains in prison.
As an elected official, Gross can only be removed from office if he chooses to resign or through intervention by the governor.
Gross is the second American mayor to be arrested for firearms-related charges in recent months. New Port Richie, Florida, Mayor Dale Massad was arrested in late February after repeatedly firing a handgun at SWAT team attempting to arrest him for practicing medicine without a license.