An Arkansas man is in custody after a standoff in a Walmart parking lot that police said involved an attempted flute attack, a plastic handgun and a menagerie of birds being kept in his van.
Officers in Springdale, Ark., on Wednesday responded to a 911 call from the niece of Rainbow Kilo Rasphoumy, 40, who told police on the call that he had mental problems and often came to her house.
On the 911 call, she told police that Rasphoumy was outside her home brandishing a fishing pole. Rasphoumy put something in her mailbox, and then left in his van, his niece told the 911 dispatcher.
When police located his van and signaled for Rasphoumy to pull over on Wednesday morning, he was at first cooperative with officers, pulling his vehicle into a Walmart parking lot and exiting the van at the officer’s request. But that cooperation quickly changed.
“He was very irrational … not making a lot of sense,” Springdale Police Capt. Mike Peters told ABCNews.com. “Trying to reason with someone that’s not rational can be pretty difficult.”
Rasphoumy retreated back into his van and pulled out a flute, then held it over his head, as if to strike the officers, Peters said. Then he laid back on the driver’s seat with his legs up, as if to kick the officers.
At that point, police said, they tased Rasphoumy, but were unable to disable him.
He then pulled out what appeared to be a handgun.
“When the taser wasn’t effective, that’s when he grabbed the plastic gun,” Peters said. “When the officers were moving for cover, they moved to the side of the vehicle. The shots were at a sharp angle. He wasn’t out the door, so he wasn’t hit.”
Officer Jake Whorton fired a total of seven shots, all of which struck the van. Rasphoumy remained in the van and a SWAT team and negotiators were called, according to police. A 45-minute standoff ensued before negotiators were able to talk Rasphoumy into surrendering.
“We basically backed off of him, contained the area, and the SWAT team took up positions,” Peters said. “Then the crisis negotiators talked to him, and he came out and surrendered.”
Officers said that in the van they found what turned out to be a black plastic toy gun that resembled a snub-nose revolver. Also inside were three parakeets, three chickens and two ducks, police said. A search warrant was obtained for Rasphoumy’s van Thursday, which allowed for a more thorough search of the vehicle.
A loaded .40-caliber semi automatic handgun was located in the passenger area of the van, along with a double-headed ax and numerous knives, handcuffs and numchucks, according to police. A stick similar to a broom handle was located with a large knife fixed to each end, believed by police to be the “fishing pole” the 911 caller referred to.
Peters said that it wasn’t clear whether or not Rasphoumy had been living in the van.
“It smelled – oh my gosh, you can imagine,” he said. “It sure looked like he was living in there. It was filled with clothing, blankets, other junk.”
Rasphoumy was first charged with aggravated assault, assault first degree and resisting arrest, police said. An additional charge of terroristic threatening, for threatening officers when the incident was occurring, was later added. He was being held at the Washington County Sheriff’s Department on $10,000 bond. It not clear if he has an attorney.
Police said that the internal affairs department launched an investigation to review the actions of the officers. Whorton was on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, police said.