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Saturday, May 21, 2022

ACSO: Man found walking near school with rifle, dead squirrels

Generic Crime
Generic Crime

As schoolchildren waited for their guardians to pick them up Wednesday afternoon, a man walked past Chester Shell Elementary School carrying a rifle, a bullet and three dead squirrels.

school mug

Christopher Ryan Starke

At about 4:35 p.m., 29-year-old Christopher Ryan Starke strolled along Southeast 67th Place in Hawthorne when calls were made reporting that a man was walking near the school with a weapon, according to a police report. He was walking 271 feet from the school while students were nearby at an after-school program.

Deputies with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office found a man matching the description east of the school, and Starke was later stopped for a reckless display of a firearm, according to the report.

He was carrying a Rossi .22-caliber hunting rifle in his right hand and the squirrels in his left hand, according to the report. He also had a .22-caliber bullet with him.

Starke, a convicted felon, was previously arrested by the sheriff’s office and convicted of armed robbery and burglary in 2006, according to Alachua County Court records.

Police arrested Starke on charges of carrying a weapon near school grounds and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Authorities took Starke to Alachua County Jail where he remains, as of press time, in lieu of a $110,000 bond.


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