Missouri city official accused of teasing co-worker with gun

A city official in the southeastern Missouri town of Poplar Bluff faces criminal charges for allegedly pumping a shotgun to tease a liberal co-worker.

Poplar Bluff Streets Superintendent Denis Kearbey, 53, is charged with the unlawful use of a weapon and is free on $25,000 bond. He pleaded not guilty Monday.

In a probable cause statement, the Missouri State Highway Patrol alleges that Kearbey brought a short-barrel shotgun to the clerk's office on Sept. 12, pumped it several times and asked if the female clerk was scared.

Kearbey initially denied that he took a gun to the office, the Highway Patrol said. But troopers were granted a search warrant and found a short-barrel shotgun under a bed in his home, Trooper Matthew B. Foster wrote.

Later, in an interview with troopers, Kearbey "stated he did take the firearm into the office and was teasing (the clerk) about being a liberal," Foster wrote. Kearbey told the troopers he never threatened anyone with the gun.

Kearbey's attorney, Daniel Moore, said Wednesday that Kearbey has a right to carry a firearm and denies any wrongdoing.

"Fortunately the Second Amendment gives you quite a bit of protection," Moore said.

Poplar Bluff, with 17,000 residents, is 150 miles south of St. Louis.