Fake gun used in brandishing incident outside Sunset Boulevard businesses

St. George Police officers responding to the call o a man seen holding a weapon outside the Pizza Hut on Sunset Boulevard in St. George, Utah, on April 24, 2020. | Screenshot of video courtesy Kody Hendrickson, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Details have emerged surrounding the arrest of a California man in St. George Friday who was accused of brandishing a firearm in front of businesses on Sunset Boulevard.

Booking photo of Lorenzo Pleydle. | Photo courtesy Washington County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News

According to multiple witnesses, a man, later identified as 50-year-old Lorenzo Pleydle of Chino, California, was standing outside Pizza Hut and Great Clips by Lin’s Market Friday afternoon with a handgun.

The St. George Police Department was notified of the incident around 4:30 p.m. with multiple officers ultimately responding to the scene with rifles drawn until the situation deescalated.

Prior to that, a responding officer wrote in the arrest report that a witness who called police had seen Pleydle point a handgun at another man approaching the Dollar Tree. That man turned around and left while the witness called 911 at that time.

Police spoke to the other man who also said Pleydle had pointed a gun at him and told him to leave the area. The man had been looking for a family member when he came across Pleydle.

“(The man) said Lorenzo kept the gun down by his waist (with) both hands covering the handgun, but he pointed at him,” the responding officer wrote in the probable cause statement. “I asked (the man) what he thought was going to happen. (He) stated that he thought that Lorenzo wanted his money, so he just wanted to comply with what Lorenzo wanted him to do.”

Man is seen holding a weapon outside the Pizza Hut on Sunset Boulevard in St. George, Utah, on April 24, 2020. | Screenshot of video courtesy Kody Hendrickson, St. George News

When police arrived, the responding officer noted in the arrest report that Pleydle had his hands at his waist and was holding something, but could not clearly identify it. The officer gave Pleydle verbal commands to show his hands, but did not comply. Other officers repeated the command to no avail.

“The male never raised his hands after several different commands were given to show his hands. This went on for several minutes, but the male did not comply,” the responding officer wrote.

Soon after, Pleydle threw something on the ground toward the officer that was identified as a handgun. The officer told to Pleydle to “get down on his belly on the ground,” which he did after repeated commands.

Pleydle was taken into custody while the responding officer inspected the handgun.

“I approached the gun and stood by the gun until I collected it after it was photographed. I picked up the handgun to make sure that it was clear. At this time, I realized that the gun was not a real handgun,” the officer wrote. “I observed that blue tape was around the grip as well as the trigger of the handgun.”

Pleydle was arrested and taken to the Purgatory Correctional Facility and has been charged with felonies for aggravated assault and possessing a dangerous weapon as a restricted individual, as well as misdemeanors for intoxication, interfering with an arrest and the exhibition of a weapon.

The responding officer wrote in the probable cause statement that Pleydle “should be considered a danger to the public and should be held until sentencing” due to a similar incident that occurred two months ago.

Pleydle was previously arrested in St. George on Feb. 25 following an incident involving his getting on a Greyhound bus without a ticket and refusing to get off while brandishing a knife with a three-inch blade. He was taken into custody without incident and was soon after found guilty of misdemeanor charges of robbery and possessing a dangerous weapon as a restricted individual.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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