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Deputies: Man arrested after road rage incident in Publix parking lot

SJCSO: Frank Austin threatens store manager with 2 knives over parking spot

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Road rage in a Publix parking lot landed a 60-year-old man behind bars, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. 

Frank Austin, of Jacksonville, was arrested Wednesday on one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 

Deputies said they were called to the Publix on State Road 16 after he threatened a store manager with two knives over a parking spot. 

The manager told deputies that he parked his car in front of the grocery store to make some sort of delivery and as he got out of his car, Austin -- who had two knives in his hands -- started walking towards him, yelling at him for parking in the spot.

At one point, deputies said, Austin threatened to pull out a gun, and that's when the manager ran into the door. 

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said the victim made the right move. 

"If the person has a knife or some kind of weapon, then it is a threat. Especially if he is approaching him aggressively, then he was right to perceive it as a threat," Smith said. 

According to the arrest affidavit, Austin told deputies that he was angry with the Publix employee and only pulled out his knife to show the man that he was serious. 

It's one thing to be frustrated over someone parking in a particular spot, Smith said, but to elevate that frustration to the level of threatening bodily harm is asking for trouble. 

"For him to tell a police officer, 'I wanted him to know I was serious,' tells me that he thinks he is responsible or he can take the law into his own hands and do what he thinks is necessary. Even a law enforcement officer would not come out with a weapon unless threatened," Smith said. 

When deputies searched Austin, they found three knives on him, the Sheriff's Office said. It's unclear whether deputies located a gun. 

Austin was booked into the St. Johns County Jail and ordered held on $1,000 bond. 


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