Ephrata man charged for pointing gun at neighbor

EPHRATA — AnEphrata man was allegedly intoxicated when he pointed a gun at his neighbor over the weekend.

Grant County prosecutors charged Jose Hernandez-Velasquez, 44, of Ephrata, with second-degree assault-deadly weapon and alteration of identifying marks on a firearm.

On Saturday a man contacted MACC Dispatch reporting his neighbor, Hernandez-Velasquez, came over to his apartment and waived a gun at him. The man told police Hernandez-Velasquez knocked on his door and was holding a small revolver, according to court documents.

The victim believed Hernandez-Velasquez was there to ask him about a cordless drill, as Hernandez-Velasquez had been working on two vehicles earlier in the day, but he said he couldn't understand the suspect because of his limited ability to speak English. Hernandez-Velasquez allegedly pointed the gun at the victim's face, placed it into his waistband and walked away.

“(The victim) was not sure if Jose had threatened him verbally due to the language barrier,” wrote a EPD officer.

The victim said he walked downstairs a few minutes after Hernandez-Velasquez left and approached him as he was standing between the two vehicles he was working on earlier in the day. He claimed Hernandez-Velasquez pulled the pistol from his waistband and told him “it was nothing to worry about.” Hernandez-Velasquez allegedly waived the pistol in the victim's face.

When officers contacted Hernandez-Velasquez he reportedly appeared to be intoxicated and claimed he did not have a gun. He did admit to talking to the victim, but at one point claimed the victim was the one who had a gun.

Police obtained a search warrant for Hernandez-Velasquez's apartment and reportedly located a .22-caliber revolver inside the front doorway. The gun was not loaded, but the serial numbers on the firearm had been filed off. In addition, officers located a homemade “zip” gun in the apartment.

“A ‘zip' gun is a homemade unregulated firearm. The gun was constructed out of metal pipe with two handles. The tube of the gun was loaded with a 12 (gauge) shotgun shell. There was a screw welded into the back of the gun as a makeshift firing pin,” wrote an officer.

Hernandez-Velasquez was reportedly involved in a similar incident in September 2015, when he allegedly brandished a gun at a subject and waived it in a person's face. He reportedly fled the scene and crashed on his way to Ephrata.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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