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Neighbors spring to aid of woman, tackle gunman

DULUTH -- Neighbors came to the aid of a Duluth woman this week who was being harassed by a crazed gunman, according to witness accounts in a Gwinnett County Police Department report.

The suspect, Richard Beck, 55, is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, one for each person he allegedly pointed a handgun at during the Wednesday melee. The incident happened on Citrus Drive, in a neighborhood near Shorty Howell Park shared by the suspect and the three others involved.

Police responded about 8:30 p.m. and handcuffed Beck, who started vomiting.

"He told me that he was very drunk and had made a bad mistake," a responding officer wrote.

The alleged victim, a 43-year-old woman, told police she'd known Beck for a while, and that he began texting her nonsensical messages that day that escalated into ranting phone calls. She called a neighbor for protection, and while those two were talking in the neighbor's truck, Beck showed up in a rage. When the woman threatened to call police, Beck pulled the pistol and pointed it in the woman's face, the report states.

The neighbor tried to wrestle the gun from Beck but was unsuccessful. Beck tried to pull open the locked passenger door then smashed the window. Another neighbor reportedly heard the commotion from down the street and ran to assist, helping the other neighbor tackle and restrain Beck until police arrived.

Beck told police he'd been assisting the woman financially and that she owed him $12,000. She refused to repay the money and sent antagonizing text messages, daring Beck "to come get his money," he claimed.

When the stories of the other three matched, police arrested Beck without further incident, the report states.

Beck also faces charges of reckless conduct and criminal damage to property. He remains jailed without bond, pending a probable cause hearing scheduled Jan. 17.