A 40-year-old man arrested with a loaded handgun near Brainerd High School faces six criminal charges in Crow Wing County District Court.
James Chairse was arrested by Brainerd police and Crow Wing County sheriff's deputies about 11 a.m. Friday at the Holiday Station Store on South Sixth Street after a witness reported a man threw a gun into her car.
Making his first appearance in court Monday, Chairse was charged with two counts of ineligible person in possession of a firearm, furnishing a dangerous weapon to a minor, removal or alteration of a serial number on a firearm, reckless use of a firearm and carrying a weapon without a permit.
According to the criminal complaint filed against Chairse:
Four people were talking in or near a parked car outside the Holiday Station Store when Chairse walked up to the vehicle, threw two cans of beer and a handgun to a 16-year-old juvenile sitting in the car and said, "Hang on to this, I'll be back in a minute."
Witnesses said Chairse then walked around a corner, came back to the vehicle and took the gun from the juvenile. Chairse then went into the Holiday Station Store.
It was at that point that the witnesses called 911. Officers arrested Chairse without incident. The weapon found in Chairse's possession was a Lorcin semi-automatic 9 mm pistol. The serial number on the pistol had been scratched off.
Chairse, who didn't have a permit to carry the gun, told officers he was carrying it for protection because someone had threatened him, according to the criminal complaint. Based on information from the FBI, officers later learned that Chairse was convicted in 1994 in Arkansas of aggravated assault and/or unlawful possession of a firearm, for which he received a suspended sentence of six years in prison.
The criminal complaint further stated that while on his way to the Crow Wing County Jail, Chairse said he had felony warrants in Arkansas and that he had been in prison for assaulting someone with a handgun. The criminal complaint noted Chairse was arrested less than 300 feet from the high school, and Brainerd Police Chief John Bolduc earlier had said students were leaving the school at the time of the incident.
MATT ERICKSON can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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