Reports of assaults, threats, gunfire and the discovery of a cache of weapons have Springfield police worried about a west Springfield neighborhood.
Those worries increased, leading to an arrest, after police received information that a man allegedly terrorizing neighbors is a “prepper,” or doomsday survivalist hoarding weapons.
Residents of the neighborhood are “living on pins and needles,” according to a police report, because of a man who’s allegedly been terrorizing the area.
Beginning in May, police started getting calls about Roy J. McCool, 36, after he reportedly assaulted a woman at her home.
According to a probable cause statement, McCool forced his way inside the home in the 3100 block of West Lombard Street and punched, slapped and choked the woman before firing three shots from a handgun into the wall of the living room.
Two days later, police say, McCool again broke into the house with the handgun, this time stealing a check card and $35 in cash from her children’s piggy banks.
About two weeks later, witnesses told police that McCool’s behavior began to affect others through the neighborhood.
On May 28, witnesses said McCool stood in his front yard with a firearm while yelling and threatening neighbors.
Two days later, a neighbor told police that people in the area were living “in a constant state of fear,” and that McCool was constantly getting into confrontations with neighbors, letting his dogs run loose and often showing firearms.
Police say McCool was a suspect in an assault earlier this month, in which he allegedly hit a neighbor in the face with a wooden stake.
Officers became more concerned when someone close to McCool used the “prepper” label to describe McCool and said he had “fortified” his home and had a stockpile of weapons, according to the statement.
“Preppers” or “survivalists” are typically considered people who stockpile items in preparation for a certain event, such as a war or attack. That could include food, supplies, or in some cases, weapons.
Police used all that information to obtain a search warrant this month, and they say that during the search they found 10 guns, including assault-style weapons, and thousands of rounds of various types of ammunition.
Police also say they found several bags of coins — 3,395 dimes, 1,412 quarters, 1,249 half dollars, 828 quarters, four nickles and a one-ounce gold coin from South Africa.
McCool was charged June 18 with six felonies stemming from incidents in May — three counts of burglary, two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and one count of domestic assault.
His bond was set at $75,000, and a motion by McCool’s attorney to lower that bond has not yet been heard.
McCool is being held in the Greene County Jail.
Guns seized at the home
• AR-15 rifle
• Black powder rifle
• .243-caliber rifle
• Hunting rifle
• .22-caliber (does not specify rifle or revolver)
• .357 magnum revolver
• Two 9 mm lugers
• 9 mm pistol
Source: Police search warrant return