A recently fired Mississippi campground employee was arrested Tuesday after she was caught on video last month pulling a gun on a black couple having a picnic by a lake with their dog.
Ruby Nell Howell, 70, has been charged with a single count of threatening exhibition of a weapon, according to the Oktibbeha County Sheriff’s Department in Mississippi.
Howell turned herself in on Tuesday and was released on a $500 bond.
Victims Franklin and Jessica Richardson said they were confronted by Howell, who was holding a gun and claiming to be the property manager shortly after they arrived near the sandy shores of Oktibbeha County Lake near Starkville, Miss.
“She was just like, ‘Get, get, you don’t belong here, you don’t belong here, you don’t belong here,’ ” Richardson told WCBI.
Richardson pulled out her cellphone to record the interaction and posted it on Facebook.
“This lady literally just pulled a gun because we’re out here and didn’t have reservations, for a lake that we didn’t even know we had to have reservations for,” Jessica Richardson narrates as the woman walks closer, the gun visible in her hand. “The only thing you had to do was tell us.”
Richardson told Howell that she was not aware they needed a reservation to be on the property.
“Well, I’m just telling you, you need to leave because it’s under private ownership,” the property manager replied after tucking the gun back into her pocket.
The couple said they got in their car to leave and stopped by the campground’s office, where they met another property manager. That manager just happened to be the woman’s husband.
“I get out and start talking to him,” Franklin Richardson told the local outlet. “The first thing he says is, ‘Oh, you don’t need a reservation for the lake.’ Then, she pulls up flying, hops out of the car, then proceeded to yell at my wife, ‘Get in the car, you need to get back in the car,’ just cussing her out and she’s not even saying anything.”
Kampgrounds of America spokesman Mike Gast said that the company “does not condone the use of a firearm in any manner on our properties or those owned and operated by our franchisees.” Gast confirmed to the Post that the property manager involved in the incident has been relieved of her duties.
Richardson detailed the encounter on Facebook:
“RACISM IS ALIVE AND WELL!! Today was a beautiful day so my husband (who’s a vet), our 2 year old dog, and myself, decided to Google a lake to visit and have a picnic. We found a lake located in starkville, ms and decided to visit. Not five mins later a truck pulls up and a white lady screams at us, she then jumps out of her truck with a Gun. And proceeded to point it at the 3 of us, simply because we didnt make reservations. After leaving my husband stopped by the office and talked with her husband (they’re the property managers). The husband tells my husband that reservations aren’t needed for the lake. This happened In Starkville,Ms”
Franklin Richardson, a sergeant in the Army National Guard, said he had just returned from a nine-month deployment in the Middle East.
It’s kind of crazy,” he said. “You go over there and don’t have a gun pointed at you, and you come back home and the first thing that happens is you have a gun pointed at you.”
Jessica Richardson said she “felt the heat” in the woman’s eyes during the encounter.
“You say ‘Get, get’ to a stray dog that’s on your porch,” she told the local outlet. “That ‘Get, get’ got to me more than ‘You don’t belong here.’ ”