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Man Arrested Over Cocking AK-47 Outside Metro Diner After Words With Manager

| April 1, 2016

joseph eberhardinger anthony catoggio

Joseph Eberhardinger, left, and Anthony Catoggio were charged with the identical charge of improper exhibit of a firearm in separate, unrelated incidents Wednesday in Palm Coast.

Patrons at Metro Diner, the new, busily frequented restaurant at Palm Coast’s Island Walk, had a fright Wednesday afternoon when several of them say a man cocked an “automatic rifle” several times in their proximity, though he did not point the weapon at them.

Joseph Eberhardinger, a 24-year-old resident of 80 Upshire Path in Palm Coast, was arrested and charged with the improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon, a first-degree misdemeanor, and booked at the Flagler County jail on $1,000 bond, which he posted.

Three witnesses told Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies that Eberhardinger, his pick-up truck briefly parked in the travel lane in front of the restaurant, “went into the left-rear door of his truck and removed a black assault rifle, later known as a Century Arms AK-47 and appeared to cock it multiple times, then placed it back into the vehicle and pulled into the parking spot and exited the truck once more.” Deputies soon arrived.

An altercation between Eberhardinger’s girlfriend and a restaurant manager had apparently led to the incident outside. Eberhardinger’s girlfriend had either lost her job at the restaurant or quit, and had gone there to retrieve her last paycheck. She had a verbal run-in with the manager about an email the ex-employee had sent, in which she’d said that she’d like to be rehired if the manager were to quit or be fired. The manager allegedly replied that she wasn’t “going anywhere.” Eberhardinger, in his account to police, told the manager that he considered her retort unprofessional and, that it “sounded like a personal attack,” and that he would report her to the Better Business Bureau.

Eberhardinger’s account then differs from that of witnesses. He told deputies that after leaving the Metro Diner he got into his truck–a Toyota Tacoma–backed out of the parking spot than smelled something odd in his car, so he decided to stop the car in the travel lane and investigate. He went to the backseat to locate the origin of the smell, moved the rifles–he had several–and one of them started to fall down, so he grabbed it and re-positioned it. He then got back into the driver’s seat, only to realize–again, according to his own account to police, as reproduced in his arrest report–that he didn’t have his phone. So he pulled into a parking spot a few spots down from where he’d originally parked and again went searching in the back seat to find his phone. That’s when deputies arrived.

Deputies didn’t buy the story. When they first asked Eberhardinger why he had all those rifles with him, he said he and his girlfriend had been at a gun range in Ocala earlier that day, though later changed his story to mean that he’d been at the gun range the previous day (it was not illegal for Eberhardinger to carry the guns in the vehicle, properly stored, regardless of his activities or their timing).

Eberhardinger’s “description of events did not logically make sense,” deputy Gibson Smith wrote in the arrest report.

“After being asked about cocking the rifle, Mr. Eberhardinger then stated that he was removing the magazine from the rife.” The deputy concluded that patrons at the restaurant had been in fear for their lives and arrested Eberhardinger. Six weapons were confiscated for the time being–four rifles and two pistols, with the AK-47 entered into evidence.

Just a few hours later, after 8 p.m., Anthony Catoggio, a 19-year-old resident of 29 Laguna Forest Trail in Palm Coast, was arrested on an identical charge, but at a different location: he was at a lake off of Belle Terre Boulevard, just north of Zonal Geranium Trail.

Young people were playing there when a vehicle with four males pulled up. Catoggio started to interact with a 15-year-old boy, who thought Catoggio was just playing with him, until Catoggio asked them: “Are you guys done?” When they asked what he meant, he went to his vehicle and allegedly retrieved a gun, scaring the youths.

Catoggio told deputies that the youths had kicked sand and “other stuff” at him and his friends, so he got upset, so he pulled out a semiautomatic Remington rifle and placed it on the hood of the vehicle–and asked his friends if they thought he’d get in trouble if he started to shoot into the water. He told police he wasn’t going to shoot at the youths, but “towards the southern end of the lake.”

He was arrested and charged with improper exhibit of a firearm and released after he posted bail, on $500 bond.

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34 Responses for “Man Arrested Over Cocking AK-47 Outside Metro Diner After Words With Manager”

  1. Ken says:

    Just a small thing, but does the dept offer shirts for pictures , they are wearing the same shirt, or is their a connection between the two gentlemen other than being arrested?

    They are wearing a “barber’s cap” provided by the sheriff’s office for the photo. ~FL

  2. Bc. says:

    Wow now you know why so many of us choose to carry concealed, with idiots like this running around Palm coast with 6 guns in ones car and the idiot at the lake brandishing a semi auto rifle in front of children. There guns need to be taken away from them for good and never should they be able to get a permit to carry they should loose there rite to own guns.

  3. Knightwatch says:

    What do Floridians, or anyone else for that matter, expect when we have conservatives across the country encouraging and enabling gun ownership and legal carrying in almost all circumstances. The shooting has been intensifying (averaging more than one mass shooting per day so far), and we’ll experience many more injuries and deaths.

    Welcome to our American reality … the most deadly developed country on earth.

  4. happeningnow says:

    A sad state of affairs we are in today.

  5. Sherry says:

    She said sarcastically. . . NO. . . HELL NO! We don’t need any gun safety laws. . . let every idiot drive around with an arsenal of lethal weapons! Thanks NRA!

  6. YankeeExPat says:

    I don’t know Sherry …these two don’t look like they would be part of “A well regulated Militia “to me.

  7. Joe says:

    Why are people with guns always the biggest cowards?, always

  8. confidential says:

    This guns for all madness and bullies with AK47’s and Remigton’s semiautomatic are courtesy of the GOP!
    Then they are let go on bail posting $100 on a $1,000 bail. Ludicrous! Bad publicity for the newly opened Metro Dinner being intimidated by this bully.

  9. dizzieone says:

    All guts’ and glory., but where’s their brains at???

  10. Freddy says:

    You are right Joe, I am old, a coward, and can no longer fight so I carry a gun for my protection. When seconds count the police is only a minute away.

  11. Joseph eber says:

    See both you guys and palm coast observer have wrote to false storys about. Me see i never pulled a rifel out the back of my truck and no its not fully auto. Two i am a cwp holder i know better then to pull a gun out or even try to chamber it funny thing is there was no mag in the rifel why would i charge a empty gun really come on now. But as ive tould palm coast observers and now u id remove ur bias story off her untill ive had my curt date cause ur storys can give me a bias jury if not removed ill contact my attorney and discuse a defamation of character lawsuit

  12. Sherry says:

    Those who want to regain their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as stated in the Declaration of Independence, need to get out the vote for some semblance of sanity from our elected and appointed officials. Starting with the Presidency all the way down to our county sheriffs, judges and police chiefs!

    Allowing the continued almost unregulated proliferation of lethal weapons is leading our country on the path to complete violent destruction! The highly dangerous insanity goes even deeper when we have an idiot candidate for President who has no problem with ALL other countries having nuclear weapons! Trump, a walking doomsday machine!

  13. Dave says:

    The guy doesn’t deserve to have any guns. What the state should do is give mental and common sense test to all gun owners. This idiot would have failed.

  14. TJ says:

    So who is going to protect you or your family when these retards start spraying you? A responsible citizen with a concealed legal carry, that’s who! The Sheriffs Dept can’t make it in time to make a difference in most cases. Or rather would you prefer to huddle under a table and take a bullet? A review of past history will clearly show that an unarmed society is usually fodder for mass murder by a tyrannical government. This is why our founding fathers wrote the Second Ammendment. Take away our guns and then only criminals will have them.

  15. Outsider says:

    Once again, let’s paint all hundred million plus gun owners with one broad brush based on the actions of a few dumb asses. When people are run down by illegal street racers, do we condemn every elderly person that drives a car? Do we demand everyone turn in their car keys? Do we hear about every time a person is arrested for driving drunk, or kills someone while doing so? (Of course, Flagler Live does a great job on keeping us informed of such events when they happen locally, which we all appreciate.) If one jackass blows his big toe off in Idaho it makes the national news, but when an entire family is killed in a car wreck, it barely goes past the local media. The point is, only responsible, law-abiding gun owners are routinely held accountable for the unlawful and stupid actions of a few gun toting morons; people who drive, drink, and engage in other lawful pursuits are NEVER held accountable for the actions of others.

  16. Nancy N says:

    TJ, as the parent of a developmentally disabled child, I’d like to point out that you lost all credibility and respectability with me the moment that you used the offensive term “retarded” as a derisive term. Please remove it from your vocabulary and develop some sensitivity to the differences of others. April is Autism Awareness month. There is plenty of information being made available to you on the topic. Avail yourself.

    Also, on a more relevant note…if your anti-gun control argument is that we need guns to fight the tyranny of the government…you’re going to need to do better than that. Because your AK-47 looks like a child’s water gun next to the firepower of our country’s military. Do you plan on taking on tanks and helicopter gun ships (not to mention F16’s) with an AK and a Glock?

  17. Chris Nichols says:

    I’d just like to point out, as the law currently stands, Criminals may not legally own a weapon. The law they’re attempting to put in place is requiring that gun owners are MENTALLY capable of owning and properly operating a firearm. I.E. Making sure it’s locked up when not in use, isn’t loaded around childen, isn’t somewhere the child is going to blow it’s top off, etc. I’m sorry you hear “Gun Control” and think “GOVERNMENT WANTS TO TAKE OUR GUNS” rather than “Government wants us to be armed, but not armed and stupid.”

  18. Geezer says:

    I’m another old arthritic coward, who doesn’t want to get caught with his pants down
    when a younger and stronger man (or men) sees him as his prey and figures he’s
    easy pickins’. Did you know that seniors or handicapped people are prime targets
    for home-invaders? They follow you home and make their move while you enter your home.

    Sadly, my cane isn’t an effective enough deterrent. I have a Bubba-Stik
    (made by Americans in Texas), and I don’t want it stolen.
    I even put a gold-plated Colt pistol medallion on it.
    You can’t throw dentures at bad guys either, but a surprise .357 revolver ruins
    their adventure.

    The two silly billies with the Ak-47 are too dumb to have guns.
    That much is true…

  19. PC Outlaw says:

    Metro Diner in St. Augustine is better.

  20. Algernon says:

    Is the letter above from Jospeh Eber above an April fools joke, or is it really an attempt by the alleged perp to tell his side of the story? If it’s real, wherever he went to school should be fined for letting him out the door with such poor spelling and writing skills…

  21. Layla says:

    This man has no business being allowed to carry firearms. He is dangerous.

  22. Denis says:

    I have only been to Metro Diner once, with Wife and Brother in Law. It was great don’t know how another Diner could be better. These people carrying guns scare me. I don’t know what me having a gun on me would solve. There really does need to be more control, these two stories prove having a permit doesn’t help the lack common sense.

  23. Nancy N says:

    Mr Eber – you are about to get an education in the operations of the criminal system in this country, which you obviously know nothing about if you are threatening to sue the press for reporting that you were charged with a crime. First off, you can’t stop the press from reporting about an ongoing criminal case even if you do not believe what they are reporting is correct. Believe me, I’ve been on your side of it. It sucks to be on the receiving end of it, I know, but there’s nothing you can do. Freedom of the press gives them the right to report using sources like the police’s official documents as Flaglerlive has done here. It’s really tempting to want to go to them to tell your story, like you’ve just done here in the comments. DON’T. Anything you say can be used against you. It’s your attorney’s job to make sure you get a fair trial in the courtroom. Let them do their job.

  24. K says:

    Mr Eber, you mention talking to your attorney about suing the media for defamation. You might talk with said attorney about the risk you take by shooting your mouth off all over Facebook and the local news websites. You come across as angry and impulsive and as a person who needs to have the last word and will do whatever it takes to intimidate a perceived detractor. Just the kind of person that would passive-aggressively “accidentally” drop a gun in plain sight after a verbal altercation.

  25. Common Sense says:

    Thank you NRA and GOP for promoting guns for everyone. Between the morons, like the two above and all the old geezer with guns, you are taking your life in your hands when you go about in public.
    These old people think they are going to be able to find their guns load them and shoot faster than their assailants. The reality is that by the time they find their glasses and pull the gun out of their depends, they will long gone.

  26. Tonya says:

    Good thing these guys weren’t black…… because if they were………….. They would be facing 25 TO LIFE. Fucked up system

  27. Geezer says:

    In response to Common Sense:

    You should refrain from calling people “morons” when you know not what you speak of.
    People like yourself, who think they’re smarter than everyone else, step into muck
    when broad-brushing, and issuing ad hominem attacks to others with a different opinion.

    No matter what, whether you like it or not–people here should be able to post what’s
    on their minds without some grumpy poltroon attacking them.

    I don’t think you have the wherewithal to defend yourself or a loved one.
    You simply dial 9-1-1 and hope somebody saves your fluffy butt.

    You seem to be projecting.

  28. confidential says:

    Here we have all these gun fanatics some too young and worthless pulling their guns too soon and the ones with seniority pulling theirs too late. What I say gun madness and useless except to bully others and or kill the innocent! No wonder…I rather have dinner at home and watch Netflix movies…

  29. Outsider says:

    “Common Sense:” Please show us where the NRA has ever advocated “guns for everyone,” bearing in mind Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, Scott Peterson and the like fall into the category of “everyone.” I doubt these “old people” will have trouble finding their guns as they are strapped to their hips. I don’t think they will have trouble “loading” their guns because any ass hat knows you carry the gun loaded if you expect it to be of any use in a pinch. You refer to geezer as a “moron.” While I sometimes disagree with him, I have to say he is no moron. When I compare his posts to those of others, I see some would do well to raise themselves to the level of “moron.”

  30. YankeeExPat says:

    “Man Arrested Over Cocking”

    A Common issue amongst Gun Owners.

  31. Markingthedays says:

    Quote: “Joseph eber says:
    April 1, 2016 at 3:37 pm
    See both you guys and palm coast observer have wrote to false storys about. Me see i never pulled a rifel out the back of my truck and no its not fully auto. Two i am a cwp holder i know better then to pull a gun out or even try to chamber it funny thing is there was no mag in the rifel why would i charge a empty gun really come on now. But as ive tould palm coast observers and now u id remove ur bias story off her untill ive had my curt date cause ur storys can give me a bias jury if not removed ill contact my attorney and discuse a defamation of character lawsuit”

    Joseph, based on this comment you don’t need any help defaming your character. You are doing just fine on your own.

  32. YankeeExPat says:

    Geezer ! Geezer ! Geezer !

    You are scaring the hell out of me with your use of the words “ad hominem”. Suddenly I was taken back to Latin class at St. Peter and Paul Catholic grammar school. The sound of the rustling leaves sounds an awful like a hip full of Rosaries on a chunky Nuns waist. I took my afternoon walk after dinner and had to keep an eye out for Sister Frances lurking in the Palmetto ready to pounce and use her well known sky hook, or as known to the kids; the Sasquatch Ear Yank. Having been escorted off schoolyards, gymnasiums and hallways via this method has made my ears prematurely sag in my Old Age.

    “Vero nihil verius”…………..nothing truer than truth!

  33. Geezer says:


    Let me tell you about Sister Hannah Hogan, at St. Patrick’s School on Mulberry Street,
    NYC–circa 1967. That particular nun seemed to zero in on me at every opportunity.
    She pulled my hair countless times, punched me, and slapped me. I always had to
    get the last word. And I did, albeit in a physically costly way.
    My bruises served as receipts.

    One day I was spacing out in my 1st grade class, probably dreaming of my
    Johnny Lightning cars and track while the nun was at the blackboard jotting
    down pertinent points in the Catechism when she noticed my lack of interest.
    This “Nolan Ryan” of a nun hurled a thick piece of chalk at my face, and struck me
    square on the nose, from a distance of about 30 feet.
    She nearly took one of my eyes out.

    After doing this to me, she came at me and got me in a headlock.
    Ah, once again I got the last word. I BIT HER FOREARM AS HARD AS I COULD.
    I chomped down on that habit-clad monster. If she’s alive, she still has the scar
    to remember me by. That was the end of my parochial school career.

    I think that your Sister Frances would match up well with my Sister Hogan in a
    steel-cage grudge match.

    Thank you for sharing your memories of Catholic School.
    (My memories are more like nightmares)


    Forest fortuna adiuvat –Terence
    “Fortune favors the brave.”

    Let’s get ready to rumble!
    –Michael Buffer

  34. Bc. says:

    Wow dark memories sister Cecelia Clair my forth grade nun Saint calistuis k to 8 Philadelphia 1965 my nun would take both your nuns together in a cage fight she was vicious if she were teaching today she would have got 20years for child abuse. She had moves back then the ROCK would have benn proud of.

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