A West Virginia man who was arrested in September for firing a warning shot into the air says he did so because he was surrounded by a gang of men who threatened to rape his fiancee.
WTRF reports officers from the Wheeling Police Department, Ohio County Sheriff's Department and the West Virginia State Police were called to the scene and arrested Chris Harris for firing the shot. He was charged with wanton endangerment because he fired the shot into the air.
But Harris maintains the police arrested the wrong person.
He claims that he and his fiancee were walking home from a Saturday evening Bible study class when they were surrounded by a group of nine men, one of whom had a knife.
“They surrounded me saying some pretty vulgar things like they were going to rape my wife in front of me, cut me,” Harris told WTOV.
"It was one of the most scariest experiences I have ever been though,” said C.C. Roxby, Harris’ fiancee.
Roxby said she called 911 but one member of the group continued to taunt them.
Harris had the gun out at that point.
“The kid kept advancing on me, saying it wasn't a real gun, and I would much rather shoot a shot into the air to prevent them from attacking me rather than them attacking me and me shooting someone,” Harris said.
Roxby said police were racing down the street, towards their location, by the time Harris fired the gun. The group of men scattered when they heard the sirens.
“Instead of them following the gang, the officers arrested Chris for firing a shot into the air,” she said.
An article about the incident from Downtrend.com reads: “Police should have compassion for law abiding gun owners when they use their weapon to defend themselves.”
“The police should have followed the gang of nine,” the author claims.
Guns.com also carried the story late last week, with many people offering up opinions in the comments section.
“Give me a break the police should be charged with dereliction of duty and wanton endangerment of the community by letting a pack of wild animals run loose,” said commenter Lawrence Collier.
Harris, who has since been released on $500 bond, said he knows that firing a gun is never a good idea but he felt as though he didn’t have a choice given the situation.
“In some of the concealed weapons classes and firearm prevention classes I have taken, they have said, you know, it's good to fire a warning shot,” Harris said.