Steven A. Ruth
KINGSPORT — A report of a masked man "hiding in the bushes" at a Kingsport nursing home has led to an arrest, with police saying the suspect accosted a pair of women in the parking lot.
Steven A. Ruth, 44, of 3648 S. Wilcox Drive, is charged with aggravated assault and simple possession of drugs. The incident occurred at approximately 8:35 p.m. Monday at Brookhaven Manor, 2035 Stonebrook Place, where an officer found Ruth armed with a BB gun that looked like an actual revolver.
According to a KPD arrest report, an initial caller to 911 stated there was a suspicious man wearing camouflage clothing and a ski mask outside the facility. He was allegedly hiding in bushes along the parking area.
A pair of female employees later told police that they were walking to a friend's car when Ruth appeared "out of nowhere." According to their statements, Ruth "quickly" approached them from behind while wearing a scarf over his face, placing them in fear.
When the women's male companion exited a vehicle in the parking lot, Ruth allegedly reversed course and began walking away. One of the women then called 911.
A responding officer located Ruth on the south side of the parking lot. When approached by police, Ruth reportedly glanced backward, placed his hands in his jacket and continued walking away.
When commanded to stop, Ruth turned around slightly, at which time the officer observed the handle of a firearm inside his jacket. The officer then drew his service weapon and once again ordered Ruth to stop, but Ruth kept his hand on the gun.
After delaying for a few moments, Ruth complied, held both hands in the air and was taken into custody. A check of his weapon reportedly revealed that it was a BB gun without an orange tip, fashioned to look "nearly identical to an actual revolver."
According to the arrest report, Ruth claimed to have "found" the gun. He said he was taking it to the nearby residence of his girlfriend. Meanwhile, the scarf worn by Ruth was allegedly wrapped around his neck and head to hide his face. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.
KPD Public Information Officer Tom Patton says that charge was the result of Ruth's actions when approached by police, when he kept his hand on what was reasonably believed to be a real firearm.
The alleged discovery of three white pills in Ruth's pocket prompted an additional charge of simple possession of drugs. As of Tuesday, he remained held in the Kingsport city jail.