Article Comment 

Man charged with taking gun to Jackson VA

 

Holbrook Mohr/The Associated Press

 

JACKSON -- A man has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after being arrested while acting erratically and walking into a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs office in Jackson with a pistol holstered on his side. 

 

A criminal complaint says Joseph Namihira was told to leave the VA Regional Office on Wednesday morning, but returned later with a .45-caliber pistol. Court records said Namihira was charged with domestic violence in Warren County last year after physically attacking his mother and firing about 25 shots at his father. 

 

Authorities say Namihira is not a veteran and that his intentions at the VA were not clear. 

 

The regional office processes benefits and is located near the G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center. 

 

Namihira appeared in U.S. District Court in Jackson on Thursday and was ordered held without bond pending action by the grand jury and a psychiatric evaluation. 

 

His lawyer, Penny Beckwith Lawson, did not immediately respond to a phone call Friday. 

 

Jim Theres, a VA spokesman, said it's not clear what Namihira intended to do, but he praised VA police for acting quickly to defuse the situation, especially in light of recent events like the Washington Navy Yard shooting. 

 

"We can't be thankful enough that our VA police here were really alert," Theres said. 

 

The criminal complaint said a VA officer saw Namihira lingering around the building at 6:10 a.m., and told him the office didn't open until 8 a.m. 

 

Namihira left, but the officer saw him sitting in car in front of the building about an hour later, according to the complaint. The officer said Namihira was acting strangely and was told to leave after it was determined that he was not a veteran. 

 

About 2 p.m., the same officer was working at the front desk when Namihira walked in with the gun on his right side. The officer drew his weapon, shouted commands and escorted Namihira out at gunpoint, at which point he was arrested, the complaint said. 

 

The gun was loaded with five rounds, and two boxes of ammunition were found later in his car, the court records said. 

 

The court records say Namihira lives alone in Vicksburg. His mother told authorities that he has been unemployed since being dismissed from a medical school in California and dropping out of a school of holistic medicine in Washington state about six years ago. 

 

The complaint said Namihira was arrested in August 2012 in Warren County after his father filed a complaint that Namihira had attacked his mother and shot at his father with a .22-caliber rifle. 

 

When authorities went to arrest him on that charge, he refused to come out of his home. A two-hour standoff ensued until officers rushed the house and arrested him, the complaint said. 

 

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said Friday that nobody was injured in the 2012 incident. Pace said Namihira was charged with felony domestic violence on Aug. 21, 2012, and the case was turned over the district attorney's office about a month later. 

 

Warren County District Attorney Ricky Smith said Namihira's father, a respected physician in the area and the victim in the case, asked that the charges be dropped so that Namihira could seek medical treatment. 

 

"We just felt at he would provide that treatment," Smith said. 

 

It wasn't immediately clear what kind of treatment Namihira received, if any.

 

 

 

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