A Tucson man linked to a Facebook page in which he films himself confronting people he claims are pedophiles fought with a man police say he lured to a Sierra Vista hotel by pretending to be a teenage boy.
The man was not arrested after the fight, but Cecil John Lipps, 32, of Sierra Vista, is facing a felony charge of luring a minor for sex, according to a news release from the Sierra Vista Police Department.
At about 10:30 p.m. Monday, police went to the hotel in the 1500 block of East Fry Boulevard after reports of a fight. By the time police arrived, Lipps had left, but he was detained during a subsequent traffic stop by a Cochise County sheriff’s deputy, the release said.
Tucson resident Michael Ballantyne, 32, remained at the scene, telling officers that he posed as a 13-year-old boy and made arrangements online to meet Lipps at the hotel to have sex, the release said.
Ballantyne told officers that he tried to verbally confront Lipps when he arrived at the hotel, but they started to fight when Lipps tried to punch him and take his phone, the release said.
A photo posted to the Facebook page “Protecting children” early Tuesday morning shows a photo of Lipps without the injuries in his police mug shot.
The Facebook post labels the photo as “Predator #7 John” and details the hotel encounter, saying that video and chat logs from conversations with Lipps would be posted to the page at a later time.
“This predator did try to grab my phone and swing on me, resulting in him hitting my hands, knees and elbows with his face,” the post says. “I am not after these predators to inflict physical harm on them; however, if I have to defend myself I will do so.”
The Arizona Daily Star reached out to the operator of the page Tuesday, but did not immediately receive a response.
There are no plans to charge Ballantyne with any crimes, said Sgt. Brian Sebastian, a Sierra Vista Police Department spokesman.
While what Ballantyne did is not illegal, “It’s certainly not something the Police Department encourages people to do,” for their own safety and the safety of other people who may be in the area, Sebastian told the Star.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sierra Vista police detective Joshua Nicola at 520-452-7500.