DOCUMENT: Drunk, Crime

Floridian Offers Novel Reason For Carrying AR-15

Accused has seen "crazy stuff" in Sunshine State

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AR-15 Driver

DECEMBER 14--An intoxicated motorist who was driving with a loaded AR-15 rifle in his lap Saturday evening told police that he carried the assault weapon because he “has seen crazy stuff since moving to Florida” from Alabama, according to arrest affidavits.

Police report that Kaleb Kleiss, 20, was involved in a “traffic altercation” while driving his 2016 Volkswagen near his Clearwater apartment.

A witness told cops that Kleiss had the barrel of the AR-15 sticking out his vehicle’s driver side window. At one point, Kleiss lifted the weapon off his lap and pointed it out the window, investigators charge. “This put the witness in great fear,” an affidavit states.

When police located Kleiss, he was standing near his car, which was parked and running outside a laundromat. The AR-15 was “displayed carelessly and laying on the plain view of everyone walking by the store,” an officer noted.

The rifle was “loaded with a full magazine and a round in the chamber,” police say.

Kleiss, pictured above, was “highly intoxicated,” and took two breath tests showing that his blood alcohol content was above the .08 limit.

After being read his rights, Kleiss reportedly told police that he carried the AR-15 for “self defense” because he “has seen crazy stuff since moving to Florida.” The affidavits do not indicate when Kleiss relocated to Florida from a town in southeastern Alabama.

Kleiss said the AR-15 had initially been in the car’s back seat, but he “turned the music up loud” and “was feeling it and moved the rifle to his lap.” The 6’ 4”, 240-pound Kleiss added that he put the rifle in his lap because he was “paranoid.”

Kleiss was charged with drunk driving, improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon, and using a firearm while under the influence. He was released early yesterday from the county jail after posting $900 bond on the three misdemeanor charges. (2 pages)