Man with BB gun arrested near Obama's motorcade

Published April 09, 2013

| New York Post

A homeless man, oblivious to President Obama's passing motorcade, took BB gun practice in the nearby woods and refused to drop his weapon when confronted by Connecticut cops, officials said today.

Obama was speaking yesterday at the University of Hartford when police, stationed along the president's route to Bradley International Airport, heard noises coming from a nearby wooded area around 5:50 p.m., said Bloomfield police Capt. Stephen Hajdasz.

A detective from the neighboring town of Simsbury ordered the man — identified as 27-year-old Joseph Stravinskas — to drop what appeared to be a rifle, according to Hajdasz.

"He was aiming it toward the woods, turned around and didn't immediately drop it," Hajdasz said.

Other cops responded to the wooded area near Charter Avenue and Cottage Grove Road before the man was thrown to the ground and arrested.

Hajdasz said he's grateful none of the officers opened fire: "[The BB rifle] was very realistic looking, like an actual rifle."

It turned out the man was taking aim at cans he had set up for target practice.

Authorities don't believe the suspect even knew President Obama was passing through.

Stravinskas has been charged with threatening, breach of peace and interfering with police.

He was held in lieu of $15,000 bail last night and is expected to be arraigned in Superior Court in Hartford later today.

The suspect had a Virginia ID, but it believed to be a transient staying with friends near where he was arrested, cops said.

Meanwhile relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre are mounting a face-to-face lobbying effort Tuesday in hopes of turning around enough lawmakers to gain a Senate floor vote on meaningful gun restrictions.

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