Lee deputy's gun reported stolen in 2009 recovered upon assault arrest

A gun recovered from a convicted felon who is accused of pointing it at a patron Thursday night at a Lehigh Acres restaurant was reported stolen from a Lee County Sheriff’s Office correctional deputy’s house in 2009.

Heath Ryan Niemi, 30, no known address, was charged Thursday with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without the intent to kill, resisting a law enforcement officer without violence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

According to Sheriff’s Office reports:

When deputies arrived at Maria’s Pizza and Pasta, 1129 Homestead Road, several patrons were detaining a man they said had a handgun. A deputy told them to release the man and ordered the man to keep his hands visible.

As the man grabbed for his waist, deputies tackled him and found a .40-caliber Glock handgun.

Niemi told deputies he found the gun in a wooded area earlier Thursday and was on his way to turn the gun in. He also said “he was a convicted felon and believed that he was looking at (20) years in prison for having the handgun in his possession.”

Deputies spoke with Jimmy Lee Miller, 27, who said the man pointed a gun at his head when Miller went to ask the man to be respectful and quit using foul language.

Deputies learned the gun was reported stolen in October 2009 from correctional officer Trent Garrett’s house. At the time, Garrett said his duty belt with equipment, a .357-caliber handgun, four long guns, jewelry, a laptop computer and digital camera also had been stolen.

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