SANTA CLARITA ( — Authorities in Santa Clarita urged members of the public Tuesday to avoid confrontation with and report suspicious activity involving clowns after two men were arrested in a clown-related incident.

A Newhall man called the sheriff’s Santa Clarita Valley Station at about 6:35 a.m. Sunday to say he had been approached by a man wearing a clown mask and armed with a knife in the 25500 block of Via Desca, according to the sheriff’s department. He told authorities he fired a warning shot to scare off the suspect.

“Further investigation revealed that the caller, who reported the clown incident, was possibly under the influence of illegal substances and may have misconstrued the story,” according to sheriff’s department spokeswoman Shirley Miller.

“He stated to responding deputies that he fired one round into the air to scare away the ‘clown.’ A search of the man’s house revealed multiple weapons, along with illegal narcotics,” Miller said.

Soon after and not far from the caller’s home, deputies detained 44-year-old Michael Willis, who allegedly had in his possession a clown mask, a 6-inch kitchen knife and burglary tools, Miller said.

“Both of the men were taken into custody at Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. It is unknown at this time if the two incidents are related. The investigation is ongoing.”

The caller who was later arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm illegally was identified as 24-year-old William Eto.

Officials at the sheriff’s station said anyone who sees suspicious activity or if approached by a clown acting in a threatening manner should avoid confrontation and call the station at (661) 255-1121. Callers should try to note any descriptors of the individual or vehicle, Miller said.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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