May 27, 2018
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RP resident threatened with gun

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
March 16, 2018

Early last Tuesday a 36-year-old Rohnert Park man and his girlfriend were threatened by a Petaluma man who pointed a gun at their head, threatening to kill them at the victims’ Avram Avenue home, however, the suspect was arrested the same day by RP officers.

Rohnert Park Public Safety Sgt. Jeff Justice said the confrontation was fueled by heated feelings toward the victim, as the victim previously had romantic relations with the suspect’s current girlfriend.

“The victim had a prior relationship with the suspect’s girlfriend,” Justice said.

The victim and his girlfriend were also acquaintances with the suspect, 35-year-old Melvin Malcolm. 

According to a Rohnert Park Public Safety press release, “The victim and his girlfriend stated that during the confrontation, Malcolm pulled the handgun out of his waistband and threatened to kill the victim as he held his gun at his side. They said Malcolm then pointed the gun at the victim’s head while continuing to threaten him. Malcolm eventually put the gun back in his waistband and got into his car and left the area.”

While the victims may have been emotionally shaken from the threats, Justice said, “The victims were not physically harmed.”

Tuesday’s startling encounter was not the first to occur with Malcolm and the 36-year-old RP resident. Back in October of 2017, the victim filed a report with public safety stating that Malcolm had confronted him for the same reasons in the parking lot of his apartment complex. Malcolm had threatened him and pointed a gun at him.

At the time the report was made, there wasn’t enough evidence established to make an arrest in the case.

Yet later in February of 2018, Malcolm was arrested for having a concealed and loaded firearm and a controlled substance in his car. He had showed signs of being intoxicated and the gun was found concealed between the driver’s seat and the console. Malcolm was booked into the Sonoma County Jail for the charges and was later bailed out.

The gun was seized and found to indeed be registered to Malcolm and it matched the victim’s description of the gun that was pulled on him in the October incident.

The suspect was arrested for the second round of threats last Tuesday after the Petaluma Police Department received the report and located his car at his home on Acorn Street in Petaluma. Malcolm was then spotted while walking out to his car in the same clothes that matched the victims’ description.

“Petaluma PD Officers and Rohnert Park detectives made contact with Malcolm and arrested him without incident,” according to the same press release. He was then taken back to RP to be questioned where he admitted to being involved in the multiple confrontations.

A search warrant was then obtained for his home and officers found yet another loaded handgun that was registered to Malcolm.

“The one gun described by the victim (the gun in the March 6 incident) matched the one found in his home,” Justice said. Justice also said that this type of crime is usually uncommon for Rohnert Park.

According to Justice the two guns were legally obtained, and “(To purchase a gun in Sonoma County), is nothing more than getting a background check.”

The United States has one of the world’s most simple gun purchasing methods, only requiring the passing of an instant background check that considers immigration status and criminal convictions and domestic violence. According to a recent article in The New York Times, it can take less than an hour to purchase a gun.

However, in other countries, such as Japan, it can take up to months and has an extensive list of requirements that need to be met in order to make a gun purchase.

According to The Times article, someone wishing to purchase a gun must take a firearm class and pass an exam, obtain a doctor’s note stating that you are mentally fit and do not have a prior history of controlled substance abuse, apply for a firing training permit, conduct and interview with the police describing why you need a gun. You must also apply for a gunpowder permit, pass a firing test class, get a certificate from a gun dealer describing the gun you want, buy a safety regulated gun safe and locker and have it inspected by police, pass a second background check and pass a review of criminal history that reviews your gun possession history, employment and if you have had any history with organized crime. After all that, you can then purchase a firearm.

When asked if Malcolm has a violent criminal history Justice said, “We do not know at this time, we have not looked into it yet.”

Malcolm was booked into Sonoma County Jail and was charged with two counts of assault with a firearm and making criminal threats as well as committing a felony while out on bail. His bail is now set at $60,000.