Police have identified a man who became frustrated Monday at the Marion Public Library and reportedly said he would “shoot everyone” as he was leaving.
Marion police Lt. Scott Elam said the man was located and warned about his behavior Tuesday evening, but was not charged with a crime. The man, whose name has not been released, also has been banned from the library.
Library Director Doug Raber said the man was using the computers around 3:15 p.m. Monday when he became upset by 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.
One patron who was in the library that day said the man told a library employee to “Do you your (expletive) job.” As the man left the building, she said she heard another comment that startled her.
“It was scary,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified due to her safety concerns. “He was shouting, yelling and swearing. He said next time he’d come back and shoot everyone with a gun.”
The woman said the threat was not directed at anyone specific. A staff member assured her they would report the incident to police. But police said they did not learn about the incident until about four hours later when the woman who heard the threat called them. A short time later, Raber called police to make his own report.
Raber said he had a board meeting at 5 p.m. and waited until it was over to finish gathering details. Staff did not immediately recognize the man.
“I probably should have moved a little bit quicker,” Raber said Tuesday. “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.”
When police caught up to the man, he was apologetic for his actions and understood why he was now banned from the library property, Raber said Thursday. Once the man had been identified, staff members realized the man was an occasional patron at the library. Raber said he was told the man had lost his temper at the library before and later apologized.
Although the incident did not escalate, it has caused the library to re-evaluate its guidelines on how to react to different situations.
“Many public libraries are probably not as fully prepared as they need to be for these kinds of situations,” Raber said. “We’re going to get some assistance from the Marion Police Department to help us develop some procedures.”