April 14, 2018
Santa Rosa Beach, Fla — A Walton County man was arrested following a violation of risk protection order issued by the First Judicial Circuit.
On April 10th, James Edward Pearson was served a signed risk protection order by Walton County Sheriff’s Office investigators.
The Risk Protection Order Act was enacted following the Valentine’s Day murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School intended to give law enforcement more power to take firearms from people with mental health issues that exhibit threats of violence against themselves or others.
The risk protection order stated Pearson was required to immediately surrender firearms and ammunition in his custody, control, or possession to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office because of exhibiting behavior that threatened himself or others and showing signs of instability.
Pearson then surrendered a single firearm located in his vehicle and told investigators he did not have any weapons at his home. Pearson declined a search of his residence and stated law enforcement would have to obtain a warrant.
The following day the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office conducted a follow-up investigation and developed probable cause for a search warrant signed on April 12th. Walton County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search warrant at 48 Nikki Circle.
The search lead to the discovery of four pistols, three of which were functional, along with an estimated several thousand rounds of assorted ammunition in areas Pearson had sole access to. In addition to the firearms, three suppressors were located and seized along with three badges from Panhandle Sheriff’s Offices including Washington, Walton, and Okaloosa.
By knowingly and intentionally having firearms and ammunition, Pearson was subsequently arrested for violating a risk protection order, a third-degree felony.