When a Pennsylvania man made a threatening gesture to a neighbor, he was arrested. However, the 64-year-old convict decided to fight the incident in court. He claims that he did not mean to threaten the life of his neighbor. He only made the gesture of turning his hand into a gun and pointing it at his neighbor because he lost himself in the heat of the moment during an argument.
Although Stephen Kirchner, 64, felt that he was within his rights to make the hand gesture that represented a gun, and direct it at his neighbor, the court decided otherwise. Because the gesture indicated that Kirchner might grab a gun and unleash a rampage on the neighbor, other residents in the neighborhood called the police and reported it.
The threatening gesture was made in June 2018. It was caught on a security camera, which shows Kirchner making the gun gesture with his hands and directing it with anger at the neighbor.
The court found Kirchner guilty of disorderly conduct. However, the 64-year-old did not feel that was right, so he appealed that verdict. Since the case was quite complicated, it went all the way to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which looked at the case with great scrutiny.
On Tuesday, August 27, the court ruled that what Kirchner did was a “crime.” Not only was Kirchner convicted, but he was also ordered to pay a small fine of $100 as well as court fees.
The court explained that the “gun-like hand gesture” was indeed made as a threat meant to inspire fear in the neighbor.
Because security footage caught Kirchner in the act, the Lancaster County police felt it best to arrest him and charge him with the crime. The incident occurred while Kirchner and his girlfriend got very close to the neighbor’s property. Kirchner reached over toward the neighbor’s property line and engaged in threatening behavior.
The police reported that Kirchner “stopped, made eye contact with (the victim), and then made a hand gesture at him imitating the firing and recoiling of a gun.”
The video, which was shared by WGAL, shows Kirchner clearly reaching toward the neighbor and his property to make the threatening gesture.
Because Kirchner had been harassing the victim for some time, the neighbor installed six home surveillance cameras to protect the Lancaster County home. At the time of the incident, Kirchner’s girlfriend had already gotten a “no contact” order – they were fighting very seriously for some time.
Because Kirchner made the gun gesture, the resident felt “extremely threatened” as it was possible that Kirchner was about to snap and go on a shooting rampage. Another neighbor watched the incident unfold and confirmed that Kirchner “put his finger up like he was going to shoot him.”
No one in the neighborhood doubted that Kirchner wanted his neighbor dead. The neighbor felt “insecure” and called the cops. The police and court decided that Kirchner was a threat and charged him with the crime.
The court felt that Kirchner was provoking a dangerous altercation.
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