A motel manager was charged with holding a bus of Special Olympics athletes at gunpoint after a dispute about where the group should park.
John Embry, 47, was charged with aggravated assault and false imprisonment and was being held Sunday without bail, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office said.
Embry, manager of the Sleep Inn, held the bus at gunpoint for 10 minutes Friday while the children lay on the floor because he did not want the bus parked in the motel’s small lot, police said.
The competitors had returned to the hotel to change for a dance, dinner and awards ceremony. There were 19 athletes on board, ages 8 to 22, and nine adult chaperones.
Amie Dugan, a spokeswoman for Special Olympics Florida, said one person was taken to the hospital after the incident for unrelated chest pains.
“The vast majority of the athletes didn’t know what was going on. The adult chaperones were more shaken up,” she said.
An employee at the Sleep Inn said no one at the motel could comment. Ellenton is about 25 miles south of Tampa Bay.