ITHACA, N.Y. —  A man involved in a brief downtown standoff with police Tuesday allegedly threatened another man with a pellet gun and has been released on probation, court records show.

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Nicholas J. Monaco, 38, of Ithaca, is charged with misdemeanors for second-degree menacing and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Nicholas J. Monaco

According to court documents, Monaco placed a man “in reasonable fear of physical injury, serious physical injury or death by pointing a loaded Gamo Model C15 Blowback air powered pellet pistol at the head of the victim.”

The following was reported in statements to police:

The incident happened just after 4 p.m. after a 35-year-old man saw another man he calls “J” in front of the Commons Market at 122 N. Aurora St. The man said he loaned J about $50 a few weeks ago and was unable to get in contact with him to get the money back.

When the man called out to J, he ran away down Seneca Street. The victim said he then walked quickly through the commons in the hopes of seeing J again and thought he saw J in front of the Chanticleer bar on 101 W. State St., located on the opposite end of the commons.

He shouted out to the man — Monaco — and then said he apologized for misidentifying him and walked away.

Monaco then followed the man across the street and when the man knelt to pick up an item he dropped, Monaco pulled the pellet gun out and pointed it toward the victim’s face.

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A statement written from the man states:

“I saw the guy pull a gun out of his jacket, he pulled it with his right hand from his right jacket pocket. He was standing next to me and aiming the gun at my face…I told him ‘Shoot me in front of all these witnesses, go ahead if you bad…’ There was a lot of people around watching.”

Monaco then allegedly made a few comments and used a racial slur against the man as Monaco started walking on West State Street.

The victim then followed Monaco and taunted him until Monaco pointed the gun at him again quickly fled into the Capital Corner building at 138-40 W. State St.

Ithaca police arrived at the scene and blocked off several surrounding street to traffic and pedestrians. Monaco was involved in a brief standoff with police from about 4 p.m. to just past 6:30 p.m.

Officers were on the scene with weapons drawn, along with the K9 unit.

According to a written statement from Monaco, he says the man did not leave him alone after misidentifying him. Monaco said the man threatened to punch him in the face and he pulled the pellet gun out in self-defense.

Monaco was arraigned in front of Ithaca City Court Judge Richard Wallace on Tuesday night and released on probation. He’s scheduled to be back in April 20.

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Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.