A Picher man has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon after allegedly threatening several officials associated with a Tar Creek buyout.

Apparently aggravated by the buyout process, Gene Ragsdale, 61, allegedly made threats against Dr. Mark Osborn, vice-chairman of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, Mike Sexton, treasurer of the trust, and J.D. Strong, Chief of Staff for the Secretary of the Environment.

“Strong, Osborn and Sexton were standing alone in the Picher High School parking lot Thursday after the Tar Creek buyout meeting,” said Ottawa County Undersheriff Bob Ernst. “Ragsdale pulled up to the three men and said ‘Have you seen my gun’ and showed the men his revolver.”

According to court records, Ragsdale also allegedly said, “Why don’t you three line up for me,” while holding the gun.

Ragsdale claims that his actions were made in jest and that he held he did not point the gun at anybody.

“It was unloaded,” Ragsdale said. “In fact, I had my finger in the whole where the clip was supposed to be.”

Osborn and Sexton are part of a nine-member trust appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to oversee a federal buyout after the former mining community was told that hundreds of homes, businesses and churches are at risk of cave in.

Strong participates as a representative of Secretary of the Environment Miles Tolbert who is an ex-officio of the board.

Community members say that Ragsdale regularly expresses his frustration with the trust during monthly meetings.

Ragsdale was taken into custody Friday and set free on a $10,000 bond.

According to District Attorney Eddie Wyant, Ragsdale has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

However, Wyant said he is taking the matter seriously.

“This incident is serious and I do not take threats of this nature lightly.”

Ragsdale is scheduled for arraignment at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Strong participates as a representative of Secretary of the Environment Miles Tolbert who is an ex-officio of the board.

Community members say that Ragsdale regularly expresses his frustration with the trust during monthly meetings.

Ragsdale was taken into custody Friday and set free on a $10,000 bond.

According to District Attorney Eddie Wyant, Ragsdale has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

However, Wyant said he is taking the matter seriously.

“This incident is serious and I do not take threats of this nature lightly.”

Ragsdale is scheduled for arraignment at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.