Guy's Gun Tattoo Draws SWAT Team

Tree workers in Maine thought it was real, called the cops

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff | Suggested by Amanda.Matznick

Posted Mar 19, 2014 2:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – He'd worked the night shift and was trying to get some sleep. So when a bunch of tree-service workers woke Michael Smith of Maine yesterday morning, he went outside shirtless and hollered at them to get off his property, recounts the Morning Sentinel. Now would be the time to point out that Smith has the tattoo of a holstered gun on his waist. From the tree workers' perspective, then, he looked for all the world like an armed crazy guy shouting threats they couldn't quite make out.

They left and called the cops, and a full contingent of state troopers armed with assault rifles then converged on Smith's house in Norridgewock and woke him up again, this time with a megaphone ordering him to come outside.

  • Trooper quote: “Obviously it was a misunderstanding and he didn’t have a weapon, but we had to respond to the initial report as if he did."
  • Smith quote: Recalling that after a cop asked him if he had any weapons, "I said, ‘Yeah, I got this gun on me all the time. It’s tattooed on."
No charges were filed. The lesson drawn from this by Time: "Always keep your shirt on."

Michael Smith, left, stands beside a Somerset County Sheriff deputy outside his home in Norridgewock, Maine.
Michael Smith, left, stands beside a Somerset County Sheriff deputy outside his home in Norridgewock, Maine.   (AP Photo/Morning Sentinel, David Leaming)
Trooper Scott Duff trains his rifle toward the home of Michael Smith in Norridgewock, Maine.
Trooper Scott Duff trains his rifle toward the home of Michael Smith in Norridgewock, Maine.   (AP Photo/Morning Sentinel, David Leaming)
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