LIBERTY, Ohio (WKBN) — A man who says he is a youth football coach was arrested Saturday on a gun charge.
Randy Triplett, 31, of Berkley Avenue, is free on $40,000 bond after being arraigned Tuesday in Girard Municipal Court before Judge Jeffrey Adler on charges of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
He is due back in court Aug. 3 for a preliminary hearing.
Reports said Triplett was pulled over about 7:50 p.m. Saturday after he was spotted riding a motorcycle at Mansel Drive and Belmont Avenue for an improper turn.
Reports said when Triplett was asked if he had a gun, he at first said no, and he also gave officers a fake name. Reports said Triplett told police that he had a license but not a motorcycle endorsement. When told to turn the motorcycle off, reports said Triplett told police he had done nothing wrong and was only going to the store. He accused police of trying to put him in jail and he appeared very nervous, reports said.
When Triplett was asked to confirm his name, reports said he admitted he gave a false name. When asked why he would give a false name, he told police that he was the coach of a youth football team, according to the report.
After he was handcuffed, Triplett was asked again if he had any weapons, and he said “no,” reports said. Reports said a records check came back that Triplett has an active protection order against him. When police looked in the front compartment of the motorcycle, they found a loaded 9mm handgun, reports said.
On his way to the Trumbull County Jail, reports said Triplett told police he started a youth football team in Youngstown to help combat violence. Reports said he told police because he stays in Youngstown, he needs a gun for protection and that he was not using the gun to harm anyone.
When asked if he made a great example for his players, Triplett said “me having a firearm, that don’t make me a bad person.” He said he was a good person and also told said “he has to protect himself from people like you, too, though.” He also added, “God’s gonna get you big dog, but that’s up to God, not me.”
Besides not being allowed to have the gun because of the protection order, Triplett is also not allowed to have a gun because of 2012 convictions in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court for carrying concealed weapons, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and receiving stolen property.
He also has a drug conviction in 2014 from Mahoning County Common Pleas Court as well as federal convictions in 2014 on drug charges.
Triplett started the Youngstown Little Bears in June with just eight players but he managed to get about 50 kids to try out for the team. He told WKBN last month: “All I really want is the kids to get here. If you bring your kids here just trust me with your kids and I promise I’m going to make them good, I’m going to make them better. They’re going to stay out of the streets. They’re going to be better athletes and better men.”