Man detained for allegedly attempting to cough on people in Belmont Shore

A man was taken into custody Wednesday after he allegedly chased people and attempted to cough on them in Belmont Shore, police said.

Residents on the social network app Nextdoor said the man was following people along Second Street and threatening to deliberately cough on them. A video on the app appears to show him coughing near the entrance of an open business. The man is reportedly a transient who had set up a camp near the Bayshore Library on Second Street, residents said.

“This guy since Saturday has on multiple occasions intentionally coughed on people as they walked down Second Street and tried to do the same to me,” according to one resident. “He has a sick loud cough.”

“He just chased me and threatened to cough on me,” another resident wrote.

The Long Beach Police Department in a statement said officers detained the man at about 9:40 p.m. on Wednesday in the area of Second Street and Granada Avenue. He was taken to a mental health evaluation facility and the investigation is ongoing, police said.

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked fears of people deliberately attempting to infect others. This week, the United States Department of Justice announced that anyone intentionally spreading coronavirus could be charged with terrorism.

On Wednesday, a New Jersey man was charged with making terrorist threats after allegedly coughing in the direction of a supermarket employee and claiming he had coronavirus.

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Kelly Puente is a general assignment and special projects reporter at the Long Beach Post. Her prolific reporting has taken her all over Southern California—even to the small Catalina Island town of Two Harbors. She is a Tiki mug collector and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public policy and administration at Cal State Long Beach. Reach her at [email protected].
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