Bradenton, Florida

From the Sarasota Herald-Tribune of April 7, 2007

Charge for gun shot in yard is dropped

A homeowner who fired a shotgun into the air to scare away a man fighting in his yard won’t be prosecuted in criminal court.

The state had filed a misdemeanor charge of unlawfully shooting a gun in public against Michael Pelletier, but prosecutors suddenly retreated from the case.

Pelletier, 53, said his friend was under attack by a man in his yard that evening in January. Pelletier fired once into woods behind his house. The man, whom Pelletier said he didn’t know, fled.

A day after the Herald-Tribune published an article about the case, prosecutors announced the state would drop the charge. Pelletier, a state prosecutor said, was defending “life or property” when he fired the shotgun.

“In this case, the defendant discharged his firearm into the air on his own property, which is not a violation of the statute,” an assistant state attorney, Sandy Phillips, said in a memo. Phillips was not the prosecutor who filed the charge.

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