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Parents panicked as man curses, yells about having gun in Cape Coral park

Posted at 1:03 AM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 01:03:37-05

A man was arrested after police say he was yelling profanities at a Cape Coral park and yelled about having a gun.

The situation happened on New Year's Eve at Jaycee Park and caused parents at the park to quickly gather their children and bring them to safety in their cars.

People at the park on Tuesday said they choose to bring their kids to Jaycee Park because they feel it's safe.

"That's why I like to come to this park," Lara Williamson, a parent of two, told Fox 4. "There are other parks I quit going to because I didn't feel comfortable there."

Cape Coral Police said several phone calls were made to 911 about John Rice, 53, screaming curse words and saying he had a gun. It happened at the bathrooms by the playground.

"It's really sad when you can't even bring your kids to the park and you have to be afraid of something like that happening," Williamson said.

Witnesses told Cape Coral Police Rice was yelling so loudly about having a gun, he could be heard across the park.

"You've got kids around. You're in a park. You've got family," Audie Rodriguez, a parent of two, told Four in Your Corner.

Rice's arrest report said a number of parents yelled for their children to get off the playground and started leaving when Rice began his rant. The report goes on to say the park cleared out. Parents were so panicked, no one would leave  a sworn statement with police because they wanted to leave with their kids.

Rice told officers he shouted "he wished he had a gun" or "would go get a gun," but he never said he had a gun.

"If I hear somebody say they have a gun, then I'm just going to believe them because it's not worth it not to," Williamson said.

Rice is charged with disorderly conduct.