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Do you own a .300 Win Mag?

posted Mar 23, 2014, 4:51 PM by Chuck Robertson
Do you own a .300 Win Mag?

By Glenn Kitchen

   Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to interview or watch other officers interview people that have been accused of violating the law. Sometimes, these people will “lawyer up” or not want to talk to us.  Some of the ones that do talk, will change the story around and volunteer information to make it look better for them.

    On 22 November 2013, the modern gun deer season was winding down. For the officers in the 8th Law Enforcement District, it had been a busy season. The mass crop in the woods was low, so the deer were spending a lot of time in the fields. When this happens, the poaching calls pick up. 

    I received a report from a landowner in the AA highway / Boone Grassy area. He stated he had observed a subject stop on the roadway, get out and shoot at an antlered deer that was standing between the AA HWY and an intersecting roadway.  The driver then returned to his vehicle and drove past the reporting party’s (RP) residence. The RP got into his vehicle and followed the subject south on the AA HWY and was able to get his license plate number and vehicle description. 

    The shooter must have spotted the RP behind him because he stated the shooter sped off and got onto I-64 at Grayson. I got the information from the RP and checked the registration to get the vehicle description and owner. The information came back as a match to what the RP had given me and it also gave me the vehicle owner’s name and place of residence. The RP had also gone to where the shooter had fired from and was able to locate the .270 caliber shell casing he had ejected from his rifle. 

He gave me the shell casing, all wrapped up to protect it from other prints or evidence contamination.  Sometimes, I’m glad for these police drama shows on TV!

    I was field training a new officer at that time.  Officer Jeremy Meade was assigned to Lewis County and the vehicle registration came back to a subject in Lewis County. After answering other calls, we were able to get a few minutes break. We took this time to locate the residence of our shooter. 

    When we arrived, he was outside and talking with a neighbor. Officer Meade and I introduced ourselves and I asked him if we could speak in private. We walked off a little ways from his company. He had that “I’m caught” look on his face and in his walk. I told him “I guess you know why we’re here?” He said he’d “been expecting us.” But he said he “wanted to explain what happened”.

  According to him, the landowner didn’t see it the way it happened. I let him talk. He stated he “was sitting there at the ‘park and ride’ when a truck pulled up and 2 guys got out and shot at a deer that was walking in the median between the two roads.  

    He “waited until they left then he went over and looked to see if they had hit the deer or if it was lying there.”  He said the caller must have seen him standing there, but he “didn’t shoot at the deer.” 

    He said he knew the caller had followed him to Grayson and if “he’d came to my truck at Grayson, I’d have explained to him what happened.” Kind of hard to catch up to his truck when the caller reported the shooter was running around 100 mph to get away from him down the AA Hwy!! 

    I let him continue to talk. When he was finished, I told him I had a shell casing that had been ejected out of the rifle after shooting at the deer.  I asked him if he had a .300 Win Mag rifle.  He was real fast in answering ‘No, I’ve got a .270!!” You could see the relief on his face. He knew he’d gotten away with it. I asked him if I could see his rifle. 

    He still had it in the seat of his truck…the same truck he’d been driving earlier that day when he’d shot at the deer. He gave me the rifle. I asked him IF I were to seize the rifle as evidence and take it and the spent casing to the KSP lab for examination, did he think I’d get a match? 

    He said “No”, because he was still thinking I had a .300 Win Mag casing. I never told him I had a .300 Win Mag casing.  I just asked him if HE had a .300 Win Mag rifle and let his imagination take him where it would. I knew if I asked him for a .270 rifle, he would not have one. He’d have some other caliber. That’s when I told him I had a .270 casing that had been picked up at the scene and I’d just about bet it would match his weapon. You could see him wilt.

    You see, I had run a check on him before I went to talk to him. He’d been caught previously for the same offense a few years ago. So he’d been down this road before and knew all the loops to go around. I knew I had to get him off balance and make him feel sure of himself. That’s why I asked him if he had a .300 Win Mag. 

    I explained to him, that I was going to seize his rifle as evidence, take it to the KSP lab and IF it matched the casing, and I bet it would, I was going to ask for maximum fine, loss of hunting rights for 3 years and maybe loss of weapon.  Now, IF he decided to start telling me the truth, we may talk to the County Attorney and not go for the maximum on the fines or license suspension.  

    That’s when he decided to start helping himself and told a somewhat closer version to the truth. I informed him I would go to the County Attorney and file a criminal summons for the charges. I would make contact with him at a later date and serve him with the paperwork.

    The weapon and spent shell casing were taken to the KSP Northeast Regional Lab where they were examined and proven to be a match. I obtained the Criminal Summons paperwork thru the Carter County Attorneys’ Office.  He was charged with Discharge a Firearm / other device upon or across a roadway, illegal take / pursue deer and no hunters orange. These were served on 7 Dec 2013.  The subject would later plead guilty to the charges and pay $703.00 in fines and court cost.

    Sometimes, people will give you correct answers to questions you want to know, if they think it will lead you away from them. They’re more than willing to help you draw a wrong conclusion.  It’s our job to figure out how to get the answers we need.

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