A 32-year-old co-owner of a Fruitland Park rent-to-own store was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm after allegedly pointing a gun at a customer who complained about receiving a sofa and loveseat with bedbugs.

According to Fruitland Park police, a customer went into the store on March 2 and complained about bed bugs in a sofa and loveseat she had rented. The man apparently told the woman he was not going to do anything about the issue.

Police claim after the woman said she was going to leave the man pointed a gun at her and told her she was not going anywhere.

The man’s mother allegedly stepped in front of her son and the customer fled the store to call police.

According to police, the man apparently told them the furniture was new and that he offered to send someone out to treat the furniture for bugs.

The man was booked into Lake County jail with bail set at $7,000.

Aggravated assault in the state of Florida may be classified as aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or aggravated assault with a firearm. Both are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in state prison. The use of a firearm is the one element that strongly differentiates the two offenses.

Essentially, aggravated assault occurs when someone threatens someone, by word or act, and in doing so puts another person in imminent danger. When this offense is carried out with a deadly weapon, the maximum sentence is five years in prison, but there is no mandatory minimum sentence. However, if this offense is charged as aggravated assault with a firearm, there is a three-year required minimum prison sentence that must be imposed.

Aggravated assault with a firearm is a very serious charge in the state of Florida. It is important to note that the three-year mandatory minimum prison sentence may be waived; however, this can only be done by the State Attorney’s Office. As former prosecutors, the Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton may be able to expose weaknesses in the State’s case which could result in the mandatory minimum sentence being waived. We can challenge the credibility of any witnesses and examine any evidence that may have been recovered. In many instances, cases involving a firearm must be fought at trial. At Whittel & Melton, our team stands ready to assist with your defense if you have been charged with any of these serious offenses.

If you have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon or firearm in Marion, Lake or Sumter County, contact The Villages Criminal Aggravated Assault Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call 352-369-5334.