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Vancouver, Wash.

In the 2000 movie "Miss Congeniality," Candice Bergen tells FBI agent and undercover beauty pageant contestant Sandra Bullock that lots of people carry firearms: "My florist has a gun."

That's true here, too, according to a Vancouver Police Department report that says an ice cream man used a handgun to fend off an alleged robber on Saturday.

The unlikely case came to light shortly before 5 p.m., when an officer was sent to Northeast Burton Road and 86th Avenue. Christopher Sanders, 24, told police he was selling ice cream in his 1989 Dodge Caravan in about the 1800 block of 86th Avenue when a man flagged him down.

Sanders said he pulled over and the man asked for a ride. When Sanders said no, the man allegedly tried to open the van's sliding door, which was locked. The man then allegedly tried to reach in an open window on the van's passenger side.

At that, Sanders told police, he grabbed a handgun from behind a seat, pointed it at the man's head and ordered him to get his hands out of the vehicle. The report said the man uttered an expletive and left the scene, and Sanders called the police.

As Sanders was waiting for an officer to arrive, the report said, the man returned, walking toward him with his hands in his pockets. Sanders told police he ordered the man to show his hands, and the man walked past him.

At some point, the report said, two witnesses saw the suspect throw a knife on the ground; it was found nearby in some weeds.

Police said they found the suspect, 20-year-old Brandon Scott Kearney, on Northeast 20th Street and took him into custody. Kearney, whom police described as homeless, was taken to the Clark County Jail on suspicion of robbery, the report said. He also was booked for a previously issued misdemeanor warrant.

Tuesday night, Kearney was being held on $5,000 bail in the Clark County Jail on the robbery allegation, and is to appear in Superior Court on Sept. 16, a jail employee said.

Sanders has a concealed- weapons permit to carry his handgun, the report said.

Sanders told The Columbian he's been an ice cream man for the past three years, driving around with music on the van's loudspeaker and selling the Good Humor, Blue Bunny and Popsicle brands.

He said he carries his .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol "just in case" of a robbery or carjacking because he deals in cash. Saturday was the first time he's had such a problem.

"I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have that gun," he said.
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