From: Platte County Prosecuting Attorney "Eric Zahnd"
Date: April 16, 2015
Subject: Drunk man with assault rifle pleads guilty
A Kansas City man who threatened to “kill everyone” in his neighborhood has admitted possessing an AR-15 while intoxicated. Zachary S. Caples, 23, pleaded guilty in Platte County Circuit Court on April 16 to unlawful use of a loaded weapon.
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said, “This case once again demonstrates that weapons and alcohol do not mix. It is fortunate the defendant did not hurt someone and that he was not shot by police despite his dangerous acts.”
On January 5, 2014, at approximately 4:15 a.m., Caples’ girlfriend called 911 and requested the assistance of law enforcement. She told dispatchers Caples had been drinking and had physically abused her. She also said Caples had threatened to kill anyone who came to the home.
Caples took the phone from his girlfriend and told the operator that his girlfriend was the problem, and they didn’t need law enforcement to respond. Caples’ speech was slow, slurred, and confused.
When Platte County deputies arrived, they entered the home and heard what sounded like a rifle and magazine being loaded. The deputies exited the residence and additional law enforcement arrived on the scene. Caples eventually came out of the house and surrendered himself. He was arrested and deputies noted he smelled strongly of alcohol.
Deputies searched the house and found a loaded AR-15 rifle and a pistol protruding from under a mattress in a bedroom. They also found a “flak jacket” with five fully loaded 30 round AR-15 magazines.
Caples told investigators that if things “hit the fan, I’ll kill everyone in the whole [expletive] neighborhood, and I have all the [expletive] food and ammo to do it.” Caples then repeatedly stated that doing so “would be fun.”
Zahnd said, “I support the right to own a gun, and I own guns myself. But that right comes with the responsibility to handle a deadly weapon with care—which means not possessing a firearm while drunk.”
Caples faces a maximum of four years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9.
The case was investigated by the Platte County Sheriff’s Department. It was prosecuted by Executive Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joe Vanover.
A photo of the weapons found by deputies is above. If you need additional information, please feel free to contact our media liaison, Jill Baker.
Eric G. Zahnd
Platte County Prosecuting Attorney
415 Third Street, Suite 60
Platte City, Missouri64079
(816) 858-3472 (fax)