Kenton man charged with inducing panic
The Kenton man who brought a toy gun to work at Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant has been arrested and could face nearly six months in jail.
Christopher Robert Rager, 32, of 420 W. Kohler St., Kenton, has been charged with one count of inducing panic, which is a misdemeanor of the first degree. He was taken to Tri-County Regional Jail in Mechanicsburg where he was booked. Rager is free on $3,000 bond. He is set to be arraigned at 8 a.m., Monday, in Marysville Municipal Court. If convicted, he could face as many as 180 days in jail.
Rager was arrested Friday after a 9-1-1 call from Honda security reported a man with a gun inside the manufacturing plant.
Union County Sheriff Jamie Patton called the inducing panic charge, “appropriate.” He said the charge carries certain elements that Rager’s actions “made people afraid.”
“I feel confident we can meet those elements,” Patton said.
Law enforcement and first responders were called to Honda’s Marysville Auto Plant, 24000 Honda Parkway, shortly after 8 a.m. Friday. Moments later, the call came through that officials had the man in custody and the gun was fake.
Patton said that Rager brought a gun to work and, “at that point, the employees didn’t know if it was fake or real. It was clear, it certainly caused other associates and employees and supervisors around Mr. Rager to be fearful.”
The gun was a fake. Patton described it as “black, plastic, small, similar to a small-caliber automatic weapon.”
He said Honda has a no –weapons policy that is clearly communicated. The sheriff said Rager’s actions are “unacceptable.”
While Patton said he feels the inducing panic charge is correct, Rager and witnesses are still being interviewed.
The sheriff said there are conflicting reports about why Rager, who works for Honda subcontractor NEX through a temporary employment agency, had the gun. A Honda official said Rager told investigators that he had been playing with his nephew and forgot to take the gun from his pocket.
“That is the story that is maybe different from what he told witnesses,” Patton said. “He maybe saying one thing now and to witnesses, what he said is different.”
The sheriff said the investigation is ongoing. He explained that people inside the plant heard Rager talking about and saw what appeared to be a gun.
The witnesses notified Honda security and officials, who responded to the scene. They subsequently notified the sheriff’s office.
Honda officials confronted Rager.
“He quickly presented it as being a fake gun, a toy and not real,” said Patton, who noted Rager was detained by Honda security at the scene “without incident.”
Patton said the charge was a misdemeanor because there was no dollar amount attached to the incident.
“Luckily the situation was resolved quickly and without incident and it did not shut down any manufacturing,” Patton said.
The sheriff said there is no evidence that links Rager’s actions to U.S. Senator Rob Portman’s Friday visit to HAM. He said he didn’t actually know about Portman’s visit until after the gun incident.
Patton again stressed his office will have, “a debriefing action after all of this is done to analyze everything and see if there is anything to be learned.”
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