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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on August 9th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 23 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 23

Finger gun gesture sets off Lompoc police investigation into alleged death threat


Jim Mosby couldn’t believe what he had just heard.

It was a typical summer night for the Lompoc City Council member, spent chatting up community members and representing his city’s leadership at Lompoc’s Old Town Market, hosted every Friday in July.

As a woman came up to the table to speak with Mosby where he sat beside Lompoc Mayor Bob Lingl, an unidentified “stranger” approached Lingl and asked a question. Mosby said Lingl responded by making a finger gun with his hand, pointed toward Mosby’s head, and said, “I’d like to shoot this guy in the head.”

“Are you kidding me?” Mosby told the Sun he asked Lingl. “There are some things you don’t say as a joke.”

“Oh, with a marshmallow gun,” Lingl responded, according to Mosby.

The brief encounter between Mosby and Lingl on July 21 led to heightened tensions between council members and an actual police investigation into the conversation. The incident is another hit to a City Council already at odds, according to Mosby.

The investigation became public on Aug. 3 after Mosby’s wife, Audrey, posted about it on a community social media forum, according to a statement released by Lompoc Police Chief Pat Walsh.

Walsh said in the statement that Mosby reported the incident to the Lompoc Police Department, the city manager, and the city attorney the morning after it happened. After a brief investigation, Walsh said police found that no crime occurred and closed the case.

Walsh declined to comment further.

Mosby said the investigation halted after he told police he wouldn’t be pressing charges against Lingl, hoping the mayor would return the “favor” with an apology.

When a private apology never came, Mosby said he and his wife assumed the issue would be addressed publicly at a City Council meeting on Aug. 1. When that didn’t happen, Mosby said his wife chose to publicize the incident herself.

Although the mayor’s words did not frighten Mosby—he said the mayor has repeatedly told council members that he doesn’t own guns—Mosby’s wife and mother took the mayor’s words as a threat. And after Mosby’s choice to vote against three of the mayor’s proposed budgets, Mosby said tensions have been high.

“My wife was the one who was very offended by it, and she wants an apology, and she hasn’t gotten it,” Mosby said. “She doesn’t think it was a joke.”

When asked for comment by the Sun, Lingl only had one response.

“The comment that I have is that I will continue to let Jim Mosby and his wife make fools of themselves,” Lingl said. “That’s the only comment I have, and that’s the only comment I’m going to give.”

Although Mosby said the incident has been “blown up,” he said it points to the greater issue of bullying.

“Bullying is a hot topic and I believe this is a level of that,” Mosby said. “There are so many other things we need to be worried about but it is definitely important to recognize that this is happening to a lot of youth and to adults.”

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