An argument between two men hunting rabbits in West Rutland resulted in a criminal charge after one of the men allegedly swung his loaded shotgun at the other man.
John S. Jones, 57, of Proctor, pleaded innocent in Rutland criminal court last week to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment. He was released on a number of court-ordered conditions.
Jones was arrested following an incident that took place Dec. 23 near the power station off Pleasant Street in West Rutland, according to the Rutland County Sheriff’s Department.
Jones was hunting rabbits in that area when he met another hunter — Jake Duprey, 28, and his 10-year-old son. After a brief discussion, Jones decided to leave the area to Duprey and his son, according to court records.
But less than an hour later he returned with his dogs. Duprey told police when he approached Jones, the man swore at him and called him a liar.
“I told him to calm down, I have my son with me. He kept on saying he was there first,” Duprey told police in a statement.
As the argument became heated, Duprey said the older man swung his pump shotgun at his chest. The two men struggled for the gun — Duprey told police he wrestled it away from Jones but Jones said he overpowered Duprey.
Duprey told police he was unsure whether Jones was trying to shoot him or just hit him with the gun — Jones told police he “smacked him on the side of his head ... with the forestock.”
“At that point he grabbed the gun and we grappled for the gun,” Jones wrote in a statement to police. “I told him to turn it loose or that was gonna be it, and he did.”
Sheriff’s Deputy James Bennick said Jones felt like he had to defend himself because Duprey was half his age.
Bennick said when he issued Jones a citation for reckless endangerment, Jones told him that he would have done the same thing again.
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