BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former law enforcement officer and military veteran was arrested in Bentonville on Thursday after making terrorist threats.
Stephen Wayne Charles, 57, was arrested on Oct. 12 and is accused of making a terrorist threat, two counts of terroristic threatening and four counts of criminal acts involving explosives.
According to court documents, the Bentonville Police Department dispatch notified central communications that they had received a phone call from an employee at The Holden Psychiatric Institute, a mental health care office in Bentonville.
The employee requested a welfare check for Charles at 12317 Haden Road. He said that he was on the phone with Charles 30 minutes prior and he threatened to “load up his guns” and “get to people before they got to him.”
Court documents say that the employee advised that Charles was a retired law enforcement officer and military veteran with an arsenal of weapons inside his home.
The employee said that Charles was making threats against people.
Myrna Loveless, Charles’ mother, contacted an employee of the Benton County Sheriff’s Office, providing them with a screenshot of a text message that Charles had sent earlier in the day.
“I don’t know. They won’t return my call or answer the phone when I call. You tell me why. I’m going to explode today and it’s going to be a real bad one,” the text messages said. “I may load up my guns and go see how many people I can kill before they can kill me. I bet I get more than anyone else had ever got before.”
Deputies were able to get to an area near Charles’ home and call him.
While on the phone, Charles reportedly told deputies “I’m coming and y’all better be ready.”
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team had blocked a gravel road leading to Charles’ home utilizing a Mine Resistant Ambush Protection armored vehicle.
According to court documents, Charles approached the deputies driving a UTV, slamming on his brakes and almost skidding into the armored vehicle.
Charles was detained and questioned. He told deputies that he had gas bombs, trip wires and shotgun primers made into claymore mines at his home, telling deputies “Some of you guys would have been laying here dead before you got up to my place.”
Deputies found a loaded AR15 behind the driver’s seat of the UTV and a bag of loaded magazines for the gun.
A search of his home yielded several firearms and a large amount of ammunition, including shotgun shells. Detectives discovered four 12-gauge trip wire alarms that required a shotgun shell to be added to make them operable and explosive.
Charles has been ordered not to have any explosive devices.
Stephen is being held in Benton County on a $1 million bond. He has a hearing set for Nov. 20.