Society

Washington Man Stephen Flinn In Trouble For Firing Warning Shots At Paragliders Over His Property

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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66-year-old Washington resident Stephen B. Flinn moved from Seattle, Washington out to the rural area of Douglas County, Washington in order to enjoy a slower pace of life as he ages.

So far, his move isn’t working out too well for him.

Flinn is facing a charge of unlawfully displaying a weapon after he fired a warning shot at a paraglider coasting over his property.

Police have not reported on whether Flinn is a Clint Eastwood fan or if he was heard mumbling “get off my air” as the paraglider hovered above.

According to the police report, Flinn was in his living room when he saw a paraglider pass by his house. He grabbed his shotgun, went outside, and fired a warning shot in the air in an attempt to “get the gliders attention.”

And get the gliders attention he did.

The glider cursed at Flinn and threatened to come to his house if he shot another time. Flinn welcomed the challenge, and fired another shot into the air.

Flinn maintains that he was pointing the gun away from the paraglider when the shots were fired. Because of this, Flinn is only facing misdemeanor charges rather than a felony charge of assault.

The paraglider was not hit or injured by Flinn’s shots.

Police came to Flinn’s house and confiscated his 12-gauge shotgun, and Flinn agreed to call police in the future rather than shooting when he has problems with paragliders.

Flinn’s attorney, John Brangwin, called the issue of trespassing above someone’s house “a really interesting legal question that I don’t yet have an answer to.”

“Mr. Flinn’s position is going to be the glider came dangerously close to his property, and he was protecting himself and his property,” Brangwin said.

Unfortunately for Flinn, the paragliders are not likely to disappear anytime soon. Flinn moved near to Chelan Butte, a prime paragliding jump spot the Columbia River on the west coast. Thousands of paragliders launch from the spot every year.

Brangwin described Flinn’s paraglider dilemma in perfect terms recently, saying that Flinn “moved to a very rural part of Douglas County to get away from the rat race that is the Seattle area, and even the Wenatchee area. … Instead, the rats have sprouted wings and are like pigeons all over his property.”

If convicted Flinn could face up to a year in prison and a $5,000 fine. 

Sources: Wenatchee World