The discovery of three ducks shot with a crossbow led police Thursday to a cache of high-powered weapons in Camarillo and a handwritten threat against President Clinton, authorities said.
Port Hueneme police arrested a 21-year-old phone company technician, James Carl Brown, on suspicion of cruelty to farm animals after finding duck feathers and crossbows at the Camarillo apartment he shares with his wife and infant daughter.
The search also turned up militia literature and about 20 semiautomatic rifles and handguns, Sgt. Jerry Beck said. Also seized were pieces of "militia-type paraphernalia and propaganda," he said.
Of particular significance was a newspaper clipping of Clinton with a handwritten threat toward the president, Beck said. Brown's father-in-law, Greg Brown, said it was a target scrawled on a newspaper photograph of Clinton that was meant as a joke.
"Unfortunately, the events taken together have spiraled out of control," Greg Brown said.
The suspect's wife, Danielle, said he was an ex-Marine who enjoyed guns, but added: "My husband is not some psycho weirdo. He does not plan on hurting anyone."
Though Brown was questioned Thursday afternoon by U.S. Secret Service agents in addition to Port Hueneme police, no federal charges were immediately filed.
The ducks, popular with schoolchildren and residents of nearby condominiums, inhabit the creek in the oceanside community.
On Saturday, Port Hueneme police received several calls from residents that ducks had been wounded with arrows, Beck said. After investigating the calls, Officer David Dickey remembered stopping a car for an inoperable taillight earlier that morning. Inside the vehicle he saw arrows and crossbows, Beck said.
"The guy gave a valid reason for having them," Beck said.
But police then used the information to obtain a search warrant of Brown's home Thursday. They found duck feathers nailed to a piece of plywood and other evidence linking him to the crime, along with "a lot more weapons than one person needs," Beck said.
Brown was in custody in lieu of $5,000 bail.