A belligerent boater faces 10 counts of felony harassment after pointing an airsoft gun at a group of people on a dock at Tacoma’s Point Defiance on Thursday, prosecutors say.
The 69-year-old South Hill man was arraigned Friday afternoon in Pierce County Superior Court on the charges, where his bail was set at $50,000.
According to charging documents:
The man launched his boat from the elevator at the Point Defiance Boathouse on Thursday afternoon, where he stores it when not in use.
As he entered Commencement Bay, he clipped the fishing line of a man on the dock.
The fisherman berated the man for cutting his line, so the boater turned back around and pulled up to argue.
Words were exchanged, progressing to profanity as children watched the incident. Parents asked the boater to watch his language.
He responded by pulling a gun out of a case and said, “How about I (expletive) shoot you guys with one of these?”
Then he pointed the gun at everyone on the dock, sending people fleeing or protecting their children.
“Everyone feared the defendant was going to discharge the gun,” prosecutors wrote.
The man then sped off into Puget Sound.
Witnesses took down the man’s boating identification numbers, and Tacoma police came to the boathouse and waited for him to return.
In the meantime, they interviewed a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife game agent who said she had multiple previous incidents with the man and described him as perpetually angry.
After the man berthed his boat, police detained him and asked him his side of the story.
He said his boat was hit by fishing tackle and was afraid of being seriously injured by being hit by a weighted line with a lure.
The man said he armed himself with his airsoft pistol, which he uses to shoot at seals, because of that threat.
He was arrested.