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MAN PULLS GUN ON BOY, DEPUTIES SAY

A neighbor threatened the kindergartener, who was playing with an empty bottle, officials say.

Ali Alzarkani and his friend were talking and catching up Sunday night, with the TV on low and the front door open. Ali Jr., Alzarkani's 6-year-old son, was playing in the doorway.

The boy had an empty water bottle, according to sheriff's reports, which he was tossing around on the concrete entryway of the Ardsley Road apartment.

The quiet evening was suddenly broken up with screaming.

"Pick it up! Pick it up!" Alzarkani said he heard a man shouting.

His friend, Abdulmohsin Alsultani, jumped up to see what the commotion was. The child stood frozen in the doorway.

Outside Alsultani met a neighbor on a rant.

"(Alsultani) told him, 'Why are you cursing that child?'" Alzarkani said.

Then Alzarkani, a kitchen manager from Iraq, stepped in to defend his son.

"Are you crazy? What's wrong with you?" Alzarkani told him.

That's when the man, identified in sheriff's reports as 53-year-old Pablo Velez, pulled a gun from his waistband.

He already had threatened the boy with it, the report says, telling him to stop throwing the bottle or else he'd shoot.

No one was hurt. Velez stashed the gun, which turned out to be an airgun, in the office of an adjacent hotel, where he works, deputies said.

That's where deputies found it, before they arrested Velez on two charges of aggravated assault.

He remained in the county jail Monday evening, in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Alzarkani said his son, a kindergartener, is doing okay, though he was shaken.

"It's the first time he's seen a gun ... in his face," the father said.

Molly Moorhead can be reached at moorhead@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6245.

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