, Gloucester, MA

February 23, 2013

Man, 85, faces threat charge

He 'joked' that he wanted gun card 
to shoot officer

By Marjorie Nesin
Staff Writer

---- — Police are seeking charges against an 85-year-old Gloucester man after he reportedly told a police department employee — jokingly, he said later — that he was anxious to renew his Firearms Identification Card (FID) because he wanted to kill one of the Gloucester police officers.

City police are charging Robert L. Williams, of Echo Avenue, with threatening to commit a crime after he allegedly said he wanted to shoot Officer Scott Duffany, according to a police report. Police confiscated Williams’s FID card, and one of his family members has secured the firearm that Williams owns, according to the police report obtained Friday.

According to the report, Williams had walked into the station about 10 a.m. Tuesday to pick up his firearms renewal card in the foyer of the station. While issuing the FID card, an employee asked Williams why he seemed so anxious to get his license, the report continued.

Williams replied that he wanted to have the license so he could “shoot Scott,” the report said.

When the employee asked “Scott, who?,” he allegedly informed the woman he was referring to Duffany, according to the report.

Williams could not be reached by the Times Friday at his home. Duffany, who has more than 20 years on the force, is one of the city’s best-known, community-oriented police officers. In addition to his day-to-day policing duties, he has served as a school resource officer and is a semiprofessional wrestler who hits the ring under the name “The General” when the city’s Police Relief Association hosts its annual benefit pro wrestling show at Fuller School.

Williams followed up by saying he was “only kidding,” according to the report. The employee issued the card, but later notified Duffany and a police lieutenant of what Williams had said, according to the report.

Two officers drove to Williams’s home on Echo Avenue the following morning and seized Williams’s renewed FID card, while the man’s family member secured his firearm.

Police noted that, within weeks of Williams applying to renew his FID card, he twice contacted the station about the renewal, came into the station once and had a family member call one time to inquire once about his FID card as well.

All of these inquiries came after police informed Williams that it takes up to four weeks or longer to complete the renewal process with the state, according to the report.

Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3451, or at