A 55-year-old Forest Grove man narrowly escaped a brawl with a drunk 21-year-old from Cornelius early Wednesday morning by firing a warning shot from his pistol while he was pinned, Police said.
John McKnight was walking his dog on the 1700 block of Elm Street about a half-hour after midnight Wednesday when he was accosted by a trio of inebriated young men.
McKnight said the three men assailed him with insults and continued to threaten him. McKnight then drew a .38 caliber pistol and told the trio to back down.
Police say Michael W. Ryan III, a Cornelius man with no fixed address, then said he didn’t believe the gun was loaded, and began to assault McKnight.
When I first saw the lead paragraph I thought “I’m going to post on this and note that there are times when warning shots are the proper course of action. Drunk guy is out of it but maybe not as threatening as he’s making out. Scaring him off the property is fine.”
But there were three of them. At close range on neutral territory. They were belligerently threatening. They failed to back off when he BRANDISHED A FIREARM. Then assaulted him. The guy was on the ground, an older man against three young hoods. Getting strangled.
I can’t say for sure what I would have done in a similar situation. But I’m pretty confident that the number of hoods would have been reduced by the end of the incident. Alcohol talking or not.
Warning shots are not without use. But if you’ve reached the point of a close confrontation with a real threat and the gun has come out, you’ve long passed the point where it’s escalated to a case of defending your life.