A Covington, Ga., dad only wanted to take his family on a trip to feed the homeless. Instead, Tae Lovelace says they were harassed by a naked man and he was forced to pull out a handgun in defense.
“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,” Lovelace told WSB.
Lovelace told Fox 5 his family was at Trailblazer Park in Covington in late July feeding the homeless when they were approached by a stranger in his underwear, who proceeded to pull his clothes down and expose himself.
“I asked him, ‘Would you please leave the scene you’re causing trouble. You don’t even have on any clothes,’” Lovelace told WSB. It worked, for awhile, he told the station.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
But when the man came back naked and started acting aggressive, Lovelace told Fox 5 he grabbed his gun and held the man for police.
“He was already touching people before he was naked so when he came up running directly toward the kids, that’s a problem. It could’ve went sour if I didn’t have anything to defend myself. I didn’t know what he was capable of doing,” Lovelace told the station.
He filmed a video of himself holding the suspect at gunpoint as the naked man attempts to hide in a pond. The video shows Lovelace appearing to order the man to come out from the water, crawl on the grass and not move.
Police said they were called to the area around 5:30 p.m by other citizens who had reported a naked man wandering by some basketball courts, according to the Covington News. Officers asked around until they found the suspect, identified later as 21-year-old Josten Meeler, being held at gunpoint by Lovelace, according to the paper.
“I’m a family man. I had to protect my family by all means. Having my firearm and being licensed to carry definitely came in handy that day,” Lovelace told Fox 5.
Police were told Meeler had been “running towards several children with his arms open and appeared to be grabbing himself,” according to the Covington News.
He was charged with child molestation, public indecency, and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, WSB reported.