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Owner pulls gun after customer ignores 'no-mask' mandate

Posted at 5:55 AM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 07:55:53-05

A no-mask policy at a Cave Creek t-shirt shop led to shoving, cussing, and ultimately a Valley store owner pulling a gun on a customer.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office tells us they are still investigating the incident to determine if the customer or owner will face charges.

The bizarre altercation reveals, yet again, how deeply divided our country and state are right now.

The owner of Teeslangers, Scott Cerkoney, feels a certain way about face coverings.

"We have a strict no mask policy," he said in a Facebook video.

He even set-up signs out front of his store during the summer, letting customers know if they were going to enter it would be without the CDC-recommended face covering.

In late November, Everett DePue stumbled in wearing a mask.

"I was looking at the t-shirt that’s right at the door," said DePue.

"I told this particular gentleman that there was a no mask policy," said Cerkoney.

"He was like right in my face, and he kind of bumps me. And says get the F out of here or take your mask off," said DePue.

"Then he chest bumped me, one or two times, and he said, 'What are you going to do? What are you going to do? Then he pushed me," said Cerkoney.

"I had a knee-jerk reaction, because he did bump me, and I pushed him back," said DePue.

"That’s when I drew the weapon," said Cerkoney. "And it wasn’t because he wasn't wearing a mask."

Both men filed police reports with MCSO.

DePue believed he was the victim of aggravated assault.

Cerkoney believed DePue trespassed at his store and assaulted him.

"I don’t think I’m going to be charged, and I don’t feel I should be charged," said Cerkoney.

"I don’t think I should be charged, but everyone always says that," said DePue.

DePue's attorney told us:

"Originally, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office told Everett it was closing its investigation into the Teeslanger incident without submitting any criminal charges to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. MCSO recently re-opened its investigation. We have now been informed MCSO is submitting this matter to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to charge Everett criminally for assault and trespass."

When asked about the potential charges, an MCSO spokesperson said in an emailed statement:

"Detectives advised they are conducting more interviews on the case before they submit to the county attorney."

MCAO confirmed to us they have not received any charging recommendations or reports regarding this case.

The incident, however it ends, reveals the extreme political views coming to the forefront of everyday life.

"This is a country of 330 million people, and we have a deep chasm right down the middle," said Cerkoney.

Cerkoney does not think his views are extreme.

"I think I’m an honest person who calls a spade a spade," he said.

Before the election, Cerkoney made politically charged videos.

"If [Biden] wins, the election was stolen, and we’re going to war," he said in one video.

His current bestselling t-shirt has in big letters 'Resistance' and in smaller font 'Tyranny Task Force.' He told ABC15 many people that come into his shop do not like the direction the country is heading and worry about a President Biden administration.

"There are a lot of people that want to fight for the country," said Cerkoney, who said he is strongly considering moving out of the country.

Since the incident, Cerkoney says he has gotten death threats.

He has also changed his policy to allow everyone to enter, even if they are wearing a mask.

In the initial police report, MCSO referred to the lack of mask compliance to ADHS for enforcement.

In a statement, ADHS spokesperson said it is Maricopa County's responsibility to enforce:

"ADHS’ enforcement authority over mask requirements covers restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, and water parks as per the governor’s executive order. Mask use is required in those businesses statewide...Maricopa County is responsible for the scope and enforcement of its mask mandate when it comes to other venues."