Police charge state marshal with brandishing gun


NAUGATUCK — A state marshal surrendered to borough police Wednesday on misdemeanor charges after police said he pulled a gun at a convenience store last month while attempting to serve a warrant.

A group of at least four teenage boys were at Stop & Save at 176 Spencer St. just before 8 p.m. June 5, when state marshal Joseph Butler drove up holding a semiautomatic handgun and ordered the teens to go away, said Lt. Robert Harrison of the Naugatuck Police Department.

“The kids thought it was a robbery,” Harrison said. “The teenagers described him as waving the gun around.”

They called 911 and police stopped Butler in the area, Harrison said. Butler, who is 73 and lives at nearby 25 Fairchild St., told police he had received a tip that someone he had a warrant for was at the convenience store. Butler brought his gun for protection, he told police.

“He thought that the person he was looking for might be armed,” Harrison said.

The gun was loaded with no round in the chamber, Harrison said. Police seized the gun from Butler the night of the incident, Harrison said.

Butler had a state pistol permit, but state marshals are not allowed to carry firearms while performing their duties, Harrison said.

Police did not record the identity of the person Butler was trying to serve, or the charges against that person, who was not in the area of the store after all, Harrison said. State marshals do not serve criminal warrants.

Butler’s reported behavior at the scene led police to apply for a warrant, Harrison said. Butler was arrested on a warrant Wednesday at the police department and charged with breach of peace and first-degree reckless endangerment.

He was released on a $15,000 bond to appear Aug. 1 in Waterbury Superior Court.