Man accused of threatening neighbor with gun

OKEECHOBEE — Brandon Button got quite a surprise Tuesday night while taking out his trash, when his neighbor, Larry Gene Clase, called him over to show him something.

According to Mr. Button’s statement to the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office, it was about 9:30 p.m. and he was taking out the trash when his neighbor, who was standing by the fence line, said something to him. Because he couldn’t hear him, Mr. Button says he went closer, and his neighbor asked him if he saw this, indicating something he was holding in one hand by shining a flashlight on it with the other hand. When Mr. Button leaned in to see what Mr. Clase was holding, he realized it was a gun.

Larry Gene Clase

Mr. Button went on to report, his neighbor reportedly said, “keep making noise, and see what happens.” Mr. Button says he called the sheriff’s office as soon as his neighbor went back inside because he was very afraid after he saw that gun. When Deputy Ben Vuleta arrived, Mr. Button explained he believed Mr. Clase might be upset because the back door of his home slams when you go in or out making a loud noise.

There was a witness to the incident who was walking up the driveway at the time. He said he saw Mr. Clase holding a gun and a flashlight.

Mr. Clase was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was also trespassed from his neighbor’s property. Bond was set at $12,500.

Cathy Womble is a staff writer for the Lake Okeechobee News.

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