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Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 | 6:51 p.m.
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Posted: 4:49 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013
By Ken Lemon
GASTONIA, N.C. —
A woman told Channel 9 she was only doing her job when she came face-to-face with a gun.The victim said the gunman told her he was a sheriff’s deputy, but that turned out to be far from the truth.The woman said the man held her up on Overhead Bridge Road in Gastonia while she was delivering newspapers to homes.The paper carrier said after the incident she was convinced Thomas Russell was a deputy.She called the Sheriff’s Department complaining about how he treated her. Officials at the department told her Russell is not a deputy, but he has been an inmate before and was arrested for communicating threats.The paper carrier didn’t want to be identified, but told Channel 9 she has trouble sleeping after her encounter with Russell Saturday morning. “All I see is his face and his gun pointed at me,” she said. She said she was delivering newspapers just before dawn on Overheard Bridge Road off Bessemer City Road.She said she saw Russell suddenly drive his SUV right up behind her.“I just didn’t have nothing else to do and no way out, because there was a dead end beyond me,” she said.She said he got out and pulled a gun, "And had it at my driver’s window pointed right at my head."She said he gave no response as she tried to explain she was delivering newspapers to a new customer on the street."The look on his face was like I don't even want to hear that,” she said.She said he told her he was a sheriff's deputy on community watch and concerned because of recent burglaries.Police told Channel 9 there is no community watch there, there were no recent burglaries and Russell isn't a deputy.Neighbors said he is a nuisance with weapons and he seems to believe he owns the road.“I want to know what’s wrong with him and why did he do it,” she said.Russell was arrested on charges of impersonating an officer and assault.Channel 9 reached out to Russell for comment but he didn’t answer.The victim is worried because Russell is out on bond. Her route was adjusted so she doesn’t’ have to pass his home.
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