CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A man believed to be the leader of a Neo-Nazi group was arrested in Chandler Monday afternoon after police say he threatened a group of Black men with a gun.
Chandler police say it all started when they were called for a disturbance at parking lot near Queen Creek and Dobson roads at around 8:30 a.m. Court records state that police had received reports of a group of white and Black men arguing in the parking lot.
By the time officers got on scene, the Black men had left in their Mercedes. Officers spoke to two white men, one being 45-year-old Burt Colucci, who is from Florida but was in Arizona for a protest in Phoenix. The Southern Poverty Law Center says Colucci is the current commander of the National Socialist Movement which is a prominent neo-Nazi group.
Police say Colucci told officers that he saw the Mercedes pull up in front of him in the parking lot and the people inside began throwing garbage out of the car. Colucci says he went to confront the men, telling them to pick up their garbage. That's when an argument started and both sides used racial slurs against one another, court records state. Colucci told police that the Black men said they had guns and were threatening to shoot him even though he said he never saw a gun.
Colucci said he then took out his gun but said he never pointed it at anyone. The Black men left the area but Colucci said before they did, they pulled up behind his truck and began throwing things at him. He told police he then sprayed pepper spray into the car. Court records indicate that officers only had one side of the story, so no arrests were made at the time.
A few hours later, police received another call from the same location. It was the Black men who had left the area. They told officers that Colucci was throwing trash at their car, using racial slurs, and threatened to kill one of them. The group said Colucci pulled out a gun and pointed it at them but didn't shoot anyone.
A separate witness told police that she saw Colucci point the gun. The police report said Colucci's gun was loaded at the time. Colucci also told officers that he is the commander of the National Socialist Movement which he described as a "white civil rights group." He said he was in Phoenix for a protest earlier that day.
Based on the victim's testimony and information from witnesses, Chandler police arrested Colucci for one count of aggravated assault.