By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
AP Legal Affairs Writer
A community college student who was overheard by a teacher saying he wanted to leave class to go shoot Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during a visit to the state has been arrested and charged with inducing panic, police said.
Shaquille Brown told police after he was taken into custody that he didn’t even have a gun to do such a thing, according to an Elyria Police Department report.
Brown, 19, was charged Wednesday in Elyria Municipal Court with one count of inducing panic, a low-level felony. He said in a brief phone interview that he was just making a joke and never said anything about shooting.
Brown, of Elyria, a two-hour drive north of Columbus, was arrested Monday after a teacher at Lorain County Community College overheard him during a time that students were doing group work in a class, the police report said.
Brown blurted out, “can we leave, because Romney is in town and I want to go shoot him,” the report said.
Romney spoke Monday at a high school in Avon Lake, a 20-minute drive from Elyria. Ohio is one of the most pivotal and closely contested battleground states, with most polls showing a very competitive race between Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama.
The teacher, after hearing the comment about Romney, told Brown she had to report him and then called campus security, the police report said.
Later, talking to arresting officers, Brown said, “I don’t even have a gun to do it.”
Brown was taken to Lorain County Jail after being interviewed by the Secret Service, the police report said.
Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said the agency was familiar with the case involving Brown and would follow up on it.
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