Man Accused Of Threatening Buyout Officials

Monday, July 16th 2007, 11:35 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ A Picher man is accused of threatening three officials involved in a buy-out program of homes and businesses in the Tar Creek area of northeastern Oklahoma. Gene Ragsdale was arrested by Ottawa County authorities for assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly brandishing a pistol at JD Strong, Mike Sexton and Doctor Mark Osborn.

Undersheriff Bob Ernest says the three were in the parking lot of Picher High School after a Tar Creek buyout meeting when Ragsdale drove up and showed them his gun and said - quote - ``why don't you three line up for me?''

Ernest says Ragsdale told deputies he was joking and didn't point the gun at the men.

Ragsdale is a supporter of the federal buyout of homes and businesses in the region and has expressed frustration with the trust that's overseeing the buyout.

Osborn and Sexton are members of the trust committee while Strong is chief of staff to the state's secretary of the environment.