Early morning weapon discharge leads to arrest

Local St. Augustine reporters at Historic City News have learned that gunshots were fired in a residential area of Lincolnville near 102 Bridge Street early this morning.

Witnesses told St. Augustine Police Officer Brittany Garmon that they heard three gun shoots coming from the area near M & M Market just before 5:00 a.m. this morning.

When the witnesses went outside to investigate, they say that they observed 30 year-old Raj Patel sitting on an outside porch. Before Patel went back inside the apartment and closed the door, police say they were told by witnesses that Patel fired two more times into the air.

Additional police units were called to the scene and when they arrived, a perimeter was formed around the property. Several attempts were made to make contact with Patel. Eventually he emerged from the rear of the apartment and was taken into custody.

Once in custody, Patel admitted going outside and firing six rounds from his gun; allegedly because he was upset with his girlfriend. He told police officers the location of the weapon inside the apartment and gave police consent to search.

Police located a Rugar .38 caliber weapon and six shell casings in the trash can. A computer check of the weapon revealed that the handgun was reported stolen in December of 2008.

Inside the apartment, officers located a box containing six baggies which tested positive for marijuana. Patel claimed the baggies were his. Three of bags had 27 grams of marijuana and the other three had 28 grams of marijuana — a total weight of 165 grams.

A large amount of cash, $3,862, was also found inside the apartment.

The marijuana, cash, weapon, and ammunition were seized.

Community Affairs Officer Barbara Stevens of the St. Augustine Police Department reports that Patel was charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell, discharging a firearm and possession of a stolen firearm. Patel is still in custody at the St. Johns County Detention Facility this afternoon in lieu of $12,000 bail.

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