An Atlanta dad held a naked man at gunpoint at a city park, for fear that the man might have been exposing himself to – or even harming – children.
As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Tae Lovelace was at Trailblazer Park in Newton County, in Covington, in suburban Atlanta, last Sunday, feeding the homeless with his church. He was accompanied by his mother, his grandmother, and his two children. Other children were at the park as well.
Unfortunately, the day was spoiled when a naked man was spotted hanging around the park. Lovelace says the man “approached” him and his family. Lovelace was, at first, almost unnecessarily polite.
“I asked him, ‘Would you please leave the scene you’re causing trouble. You don’t even have on any clothes.'”
Lovelace says the man did leave – at least, for a while. At about 5:30 p.m., the man came back. This time, Lovelace says, the man approached him and his family.
“Not only did he come back naked he ran directly up to my kids, and the mother of my child and they were frightened.”
This time, says Lovelace, he had no choice but to grab his gun. Meanwhile, he recorded the incident on the phone so he could have evidence to give the cops when they showed up.
“It’s a family event so everybody out here was pretty much frightened and, at that point and time, I go and get my firearm.”
A Newton County dad detained an accused child molester who was exposing himself in front of children at a city park. Hear why the dad says he had to protect his own kids, @ 4pm. pic.twitter.com/11XxlZCvc5
— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) July 31, 2018
When the police did turn up, their first order of business was not the naked man, but the man holding a gun. Though Lovelace wasn’t accused of any crimes, he was holding a gun around police, and they’d prefer not to work in those situations. They ordered Lovelace to put his weapon down – and while they were focused on Lovelace, the naked man saw his opportunity and jumped into a creek, trying to run away.
He didn’t get far, however: police caught up to him and took him into custody.
The naked man has been identified as 21-year-old Josten Meeler. He’s been charged with child molestation, public indecency, and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It’s not clear, as of this writing, whether or not Meeler has a prior criminal record.
As for Lovelace, he credits Georgia’s gun laws with helping prevent this incident from being something much worse.
“Had I not been licensed to carry at that moment who knows what this guy could have done to my family or any of the other families that were here.”