Police are investigating after a man at the Marion Public Library reportedly threatened to shoot someone.
Library Director Doug Raber said a man using the computers around 3:15 p.m. Monday apparently was upset that a few junior high students nearby were being noisy. He said staff member heard the man swear and tell the kids to “shut up,” but didn’t immediately intervene.
A woman who was using the library later told staff she overheard the man make a reference to violence, shortly before he left and went to a car in the parking lot.
“He said something along the lines of this: ‘Next time I’ll come here with a gun and shoot you.’” Raber said.
Raber, who talked to three patrons and staff members, said it does not appear the threat was directed at anyone specific. He said none of the staff members heard the comment.
After the man left the building, he went to a car in the parking lot, and apparently waited for two elderly women who were in a meeting at the library, Raber said. A patron later told him the two women got into the car the man was in and they left together.
Raber suspects the man was using the computers to pass the time while the women were in the meeting, and eventually became upset with the kids.
“Every day at that time, we get a bunch of junior high kids coming in after school, and the library noise level goes up,” Raber said. “There’s not much we can do about it. We’re not a ‘shooshing’ library.”
Police were not immediately notified when the man left the building, and library staff was unaware that the man was still in the parking lot for a while. Had they known that, Raber said police would have been summoned.
The woman who made the initial report to staff called police about four hours after the incident, shortly before Raber called police himself.
“I probably should have moved a little bit quicker,” Raber said. “I was trying to gather all the information I possibly could, so I knew what was going on. I wanted to check surveillance cameras, check with staff and interview people to get an overall picture of what was going on.”
The woman who called police declined to comment through her boyfriend, who had contacted The Gazette.
Raber said he has asked police to try to identify and locate the man so that he can be issued a warning about his behavior and language. Police said they were hoping to make contact with the man yet today.“Any time this kind of thing happens, we try to respond with as much information as we can,” Raber said. “Of course, we have a public building, and there’s a lot of stuff that goes on in it, and there often are conflicting reports. We follow up on everything, though, every time.”