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A man who pulled a knife on a driver in Lebanon Thursday evening found himself staring at a gun when a bystander with a concealed carry permit intervened, according to Lebanon police officials.

Michael Ryan VanGelder, 30, is alleged to have brandished a large, fixed-blade knife at Elizah Bullock, 39, after a verbal dispute at about 7 p.m. near 809 S. Main St.

Witnessing the altercation, Mica Smith, a U.S. Army veteran who served 10 years, the final 3 with the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, NY, leapt from the patio at Conversion Brewing and drew his Glock 42 .380 on VanGelder, who then tried to run from the scene. Both Bullock and Smith chased and tackled VanGelder, who is alleged to have assaulted Bullock in the scuffle.

Lebanon police officers arrested VanGelder. At his arraignment Friday, he faced charges of unlawful use of a weapon, menacing, fourth-degree assault and second-degree disorderly conduct. 

"There were threats made with a knife," said prosecutor Ani Yardumian, who asked for $20,000 bail in the case. Judge Rick McCormick set security at that amount. 

Yardumian added that Bullock was unable to attend the brief court hearing because he needed to get medical treatment.

Bullock and VanGelder live in the same apartment complex in Lebanon. McCormick ordered that VanGelder could not come within 100 yards of Bullock.

Tim Felling was appointed VanGelder's attorney, and the next hearing in the case was scheduled for Friday, Oct. 6.

Aimee Crumley, VanGelder's sister, was present at the court hearing, and said her brother suffers from mental illness and has days when his behavior is difficult. She said she helps her family take care of VanGelder. 

She added that Smith also knows VanGelder.

Lorra Crumley, VanGelder's mother, said in a telephone interview that she felt horrible about the actions of her son.

"I would have never expected it in a million years," she added.

She said that society doesn't have a lot of help for mentally ill people who still appear, at first glance, to function at a high level. 

"If I wasn’t involved in his life, he would be on the streets," Lorra Crumley said.

VanGelder pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault in 2015 in Lincoln County as part of a negotiated settlement in a criminal case. He was sentenced to a year in jail, and ordered to undergo an alcohol and drug evaluation and a mental health assessment and counseling or treatment, if necessary. 

Contact reporter Neil Zawicki at 541-812-6099 or


Courts Reporter