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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
5:15 PM Fri, Sept. 21st

Police warn against shooting guns into the air

Prescott police arrested a man Sunday after he shot a round from a revolver into the air inside city limits to scare two javelinas away from his dog, a spokesman said.

Officers booked Charles Jones, 72, of Prescott, into Camp Verde jail on charges of unlawful discharge of a firearm inside city limits.

Shannon's Law, enacted in 2000 by the Arizona Legislature, makes it a felony offense to discharge a firearm randomly into the air, said Lt. Andy Reinhardt, spokesman for the Prescott Police Department.

The law is named after Shannon Smith, a 14-year-old Phoenix girl killed by a stray bullet in her backyard in June 1999 while she talked on the phone with a friend. After Smith's parents learned that random discharge of firearms was only a misdemeanor, they advocated stronger penalties.

"We want to remind citizens that shooting a gun into the air is deadly," Reinhardt said. "The speed of a bullet falling back down to the ground can be deadly."

At 9:40 Sunday, officers responded to Jones' home after he called dispatch to report he shot at javelinas charging at his dog at his home in the 400 block of Mt. Vernon.

When officers arrived, Jones told them his dog seemed agitated and kept running in and out of his home, so he went outside to check on things.

Jones told police two javelinas approached the outside of the chain link fence surrounding his yard and acted aggressively toward his dog inside the fenced yard.

At first, Jones yelled at the javelinas to leave and at his dog to get away from the fence, according to the police report. When that didn't work, Jones told police he fired one round from his .38 caliber Smith & Wesson revolver into the air, scaring the javelinas away.

Jones told police he fired his gun because he feared the javelinas would hurt his dog. Jones then called police to report the incident.

Before taking Jones to jail, the officer helped him find a family member to care for his dog.