Jury acquits of felony criminal endangerment
After just more than two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, a jury found a Havre man guilty of two misdemeanors stemming from his shooting a pistol in a residential Havre neighborhood after inserting himself in an argument about a dog.
James R. Lowrance, born in 1990, was charged with a felony count of criminal endangerment and a misdemeanor count of discharging a firearm within city limits.
After two full days of trial, last week on the third day of the trial in state District Court in Havre the jury found Lowrance guilty of the first misdemeanor and of a misdemeanor criminal endangerment charge included in the felony charge.
State District Judge Dan Boucher set sentencing for Tuesday.
The charges were filed after an incident June 10 in which Lowrance, at first, was a bystander.
He called Havre police June 10 to report a man was not letting him leave a residence. The dispatcher heard another man saying, “quit waving that gun in my face“ during the call.
Dispatch then received another call reporting a shot had been fired at the location.
Officers responding found Lowrance and saw he had a sidearm in a black holster on his right leg.
The officers were told that the argument started when a woman who lived in the neighborhood confronted a man about hitting his dog in his residence, directly above the woman’s residence. The dog owner cursed at the woman, and a friend of hers told her boyfriend. The boyfriend confronted the man, and told him to apologize.
While the dog-owner was apologizing and “working it out” with the woman’s boyfriend, Lowrance made profane comments toward the two women.
When the boyfriend confronted Lowrance, Lowrance unholstered a pistol and told the boyfriend he was going to shoot him. The dog owner pulled Lowrance’s arm down and told him to leave and escorted him out of the residence.
The boyfriend followed him out after Lowrance made more profane comments about the women. They began arguing near Lowrance’s vehicle, and Lowrance again unholstered his pistol and pointed it toward the boyfriend.
When the boyfriend commented that he didn’t believe it was a real, loaded gun, Lowrance said it was real and fired a round.
Lowrance has maintained he was acting in self defense, telling the Havre Daily News he was threatened during the argument and was prevented from leaving.