Cops: Politics leads to violent threat at Snowmass restaurant
July 18, 2017
Police arrested a Roaring Fork Valley man Sunday who claimed to have a gun in his backpack and threatened to "make all of you pay" after a political argument at a Snowmass Village restaurant, according to court documents.
Francis Parente, 28, was charged with felony menacing after allegedly telling another patron at Slow Groovin' BBQ that "he was going to do something great for America and (the patron) should thank him," according to an affidavit filed in Pitkin County District Court.
Prosecutor Sarah Oszczakiewicz said Monday that Parente is on unsupervised probation for an unspecified offense.
"The allegation is that he was threatening to shoot people with a gun in his backpack during a pretty intense political conversation," Oszczakiewicz said. "He was using aggressive political rhetoric with people present at the bar."
Parente's attorney, Arnold Mordkin, told District Judge Chris Seldin on Monday his client is a "much in demand" caddy at the Maroon Creek Club who doesn't own firearms. No weapon was found in his backpack, Mordkin said.
Emergency dispatchers received a call from the restaurant at about 10:20 p.m. reporting that Parente said, "You better be careful because I have a gun in my backpack," to a customer, the affidavit states. Police arrived soon after and immediately arrested Parente, who was found in a hallway outside the restaurant's bathrooms.
A customer at the restaurant told Snowmass Village police officers that Parente had been sitting at the bar and "became increasingly argumentative," according to the affidavit.
"Parente started spewing insults, became more political in his rhetoric and became combative," the affidavit states. "(According to the customer), he said, 'You are all going to be sorry. I'll make all of you pay.'"
Parente later told a bartender, "No one should mess with me. I have a gun in my backpack," according to the affidavit.
Parente refused when asked to leave the restaurant, according to the affidavit.
Seldin ordered Parente held in lieu of a $500 cash-only bond and forbid him from returning to Slow Groovin' BBQ in Snowmass Village or Marble. The judge also ordered Parente to give up any firearms and ammunition.
Mordkin said his client has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for three years, though he was not specific as to exactly where.