VALPARAISO | A Valparaiso man grabbed a gun and threatened to kill his mother's dogs after one of the dogs killed his hamster, Valparaiso police said.
The man also threatened his mother, tried to prevent her from calling police and was found in possession of marijuana and smoking pipes, police said.
Brian Sutherland, 26, who lives at his mother's home at 1106 Pine Creek Road, was arrested after the Wednesday morning incident on charges of criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, intimidation, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and interference with reporting a crime. He faces up to 14 years in prison if convicted.
Sutherland's mother told police Sutherland came upstairs with his hamster, which was inside a plastic exercise ball, and placed it on the kitchen floor. She told police her two dogs began to play with the hamster, and she and Sutherland began to talk and laugh.
She told police one of the dogs broke open the exercise ball and had the hamster in his mouth. She told police Sutherland pulled the hamster from the dog's mouth, determined the hamster was dead and said, "I'm going to kill the dogs."
She told police Sutherland grabbed his handgun, at which time she tried to stay between him and the dog. She told police Sutherland stated, "I can go through you," so she feared for her own life.
Police said Sutherland pulled the batteries from his mother's cordless phone and cellular phone so she couldn't call police, but she used another phone to call police.
Police said they arrived and ordered Sutherland to surrender at gunpoint, and he complied. Police said they found his drugs while looking for his gun. Police said he had other guns as well, and officers advised Sutherland's mother to remove them all from the home.
Police said Sutherland is bipolar and has not been taking his medication.