Man arrested for terroristic threat after brandishing air gun outside the Hotel Paisano

MARFA — A man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on West Texas Street after allegedly aiming an air gun at another man and threatening to kill him, according to the Marfa Police Department.

Police were called to the scene outside the Hotel Paisano at around 12:49 p.m. when the department received a call about an altercation between two men involving what appeared to be a firearm. 

Two men were arguing in the street outside the hotel when one pulled out what appeared to be a pistol, pointed it at the other man and threatened to kill him, said Marfa Police Chief Steve Marquez. A witness called the police, said Marquez, at which point the department rushed to the scene, followed closely by officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office.

It turned out, upon investigation, that the gun in question was an air pistol that fires BB pellets. The suspect was arrested for making a terroristic threat, a charge which can range from a class B misdemeanor to a third-degree felony depending on the circumstances. Police have not released the name of the suspect.

The witness who called the cops was David Beebe, former Justice of the Peace and current candidate for Presidio County Commissioner, Precinct 4. Beebe told the Big Bend Sentinel that he was eating lunch on his front porch when he witnessed the incident “by sound” — he heard two men speaking loudly, and at first thought they were joking around. But that first impression quickly shifted — it sounded like a fight was about to break out.

As Beebe got up and moved to where he could see the altercation, the men had started to yell at each other, he recalled — that’s when things escalated. “One guy says something along the lines of, ‘Don’t point that f—ing gun at me, put the gun away,’” said Beebe. At that point, Beebe ran to call the Marfa police department, which was quick to arrive on the scene, he said.

Beebe said having seen the air gun, it looked like a real 9mm pistol — and pointing that at someone remains a crime, he pointed out. “People rob banks with toy guns,” he said. “If you present a toy gun as a gun, it’s a gun.”

The suspect is being held at the Presidio County Jail, said Chief Marquez.

Marquez said he was grateful for the quick response from all involved — especially with heightened fears of gun violence — and was glad the situation was not worse. “I’m glad it was what it was,” he said. “We don’t want that happening in our little town.”