A man was arrested after a Tuesday afternoon standoff in the area of Marion Avenue in downtown Punta Gorda.
According to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, James Alan Currie, 51, was arrested after deputies tried to pull him over.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office had warned Charlotte County deputies to be on the lookout for Currie, who was suspected of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, grand theft of a firearm and grand theft in connection with a March 20 burglary in North Naples.
Deputies say Currie fled a short distance in a 2020 GMC Sierra with no tag before stopping in the parking lot of 103 W. Marion Ave, which was a dead end. Currie refused to leave his truck and kept reaching toward the center console.
Currie drank from a Patron Silver bottle and a Bud Lite can while speaking with law enforcement. He had slurred speech and at times would fall asleep.
Based on the information provided by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte County deputies say they handled the situation with the assumption Currie was armed.
After a three-hour standoff and multiple commands, Currie started his truck and drove around 30 feet towards the exit of the parking lot but encountered stop sticks. After finally exiting his vehicle, Currie was tased. One of the darts struck him below the right eye.
Currie was taken to the hospital. Deputies searched his GMC Sierra and found a Daniels Defense 5.56 rifle between the passenger seat and console, a Kimber in the driver’s rear door pocket and a silver Kimber in the driver’s door console pocket.
The Kimber firearms were within arm’s reach of the driver and in the same area where James kept reaching. A Smith & Wesson 9 mm was found inside a cardboard box in the rear passenger seat. All of the firearms were loaded.
Currie faces charges of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended driver’s license (third or more), failure to register a motor vehicle, fleeing to elude, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, and criminal citation for DUI.
WINK News spoke to businesses nearby who say they were told to stay inside and close their doors.
“We’ve just seen the helicopter since we started walking 40 minutes ago; everything blocked off. Nobody knows what’s going on,” said Tenille Noya, a Punta Gorda resident. “My husband is out there with my other two kids.”
“My worker’s inside, and she was told by the police to go inside and lock the doors because they’re looking for someone,” Alina Cosman said.
Currie’s mandatory court date is April 12 at 8:30 a.m. His bond is set at $575,500.