Man caught on camera pointing a gun at protesters appears before judge

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Paul Staples, the man caught on camera pointing a gun at protesters, appeared before a judge on Monday.

Staples was told to hire an attorney. He’ll be back in court next month.

A screenshot from a video shows a man who appears to be pointing a weapon toward protesters on South Main.

Staples is facing multiple counts of aggravated assault and tampering with evidence. Police said he gave a full confession on Friday, but detectives said he tried to give them a toy gun, instead of the gun in question.

Demonstrators had gathered near his home off South Main upset after the news only one of the three officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor would be indicted.

According to police records the group walked by the home when they exchanged words with Staples.

Things escalated when Staples came out of the house and confronted the group, pointing a gun at them in order to keep them away from his vehicle. 

Eight people there reported the incident to police that night.

 L.J. Abraham spoke to WREG-TV via phone and explained how things unfolded.

““He pulled out a pistol,” Abraham said. “He had his hand on the trigger and he had it pointed sideways. He pointed it at me. And then he pointed it at everyone else.”

Staples showed up at the North Main police precinct Friday to give a statement and hand over a pellet pistol he told officers he had used.

But when he arrived officers said he had a toy airsoft pistol that did not match pictures. When detectives asked about the discrepancy, they say Staples gave a full confession and turned over the 9-millimeter handgun he really used.

He said he pointed the gun at protestors because he was in fear.

WREG tried to get Staples’ account of the incident and knocked on his door, but no one answered.

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