Retired Arkansas Highway policeman appears in federal court on gun charge

John William Vickers, 55

A former Arkansas Highway policeman recently arrested by state authorities for threatening to kill area law enforcement officers and the U.S. President, is now facing a federal weapons charge.

John William Vickers, 55, appeared Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant for the first time on a federal complaint accusing him of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person in the Texarkana Division of the Western District of Arkansas. When searching Vickers’ home Oct. 26 in Prescott, Ark., investigators found a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol and a 12 gauge shotgun, according to a criminal complaint signed by Special Agent Edwin Starr of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Ammunition for both guns was collected as well.

A court order issued in Ouachita County, Ark., preventing him from, “harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner,” which prohibited possession of a firearm or ammunition means Vickers’ was illegally in possession of the guns, according to the federal complaint.

Vickers was charged with terroristic threatening in Hempstead County, Ark., Oct. 26 because of threatening Facebook posts which specifically named members of area law enforcement, including Miller County Sheriff Ron Stovall and the U.S. President.

“The postings read in part, ‘poor babies will not have life much longer according to God. He said to kill every one,’” the complaint alleges. “Vickers referred to someone in one post as, ‘a dead man and I can damn sure make it happen!,’ and “BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!!”

At the time of his arrest, Vickers refused to talk to an Arkansas State Police investigator but did agree to discuss his Facebook posts and guns with a special agent with the U.S. Secret Service. Vickers referred to himself in the third person during his conversation with the Secret Service agent and claimed that God spoke to him directly and told him what to put on Facebook.

“He said that God speaks to him, but that he had no intention of killing the president and was only writing down what God had told him to do,” the complaint said.

Vickers also claimed the firearms found in his house are in his wife’s name but admitted to firing the shotgun the day before his arrest, “just to shoot.”

Documents on file in Vickers’ federal case state that Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Ross asked that Vickers be locked up while his case is pending. Bryant scheduled the case for a detention hearing for Wednesday afternoon in Texarkana.

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