BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – A 28-year-old Missouri man was charged with simple assault after an incident with his father turned physical in southern Lee County Wednesday night.
Rex Allen Wright, II was accidentally shot in the leg with a .22 pistol by his father after the two got in an altercation about a dog. According to reports the son had assaulted his father and knocked him to the ground when the father pulled out a gun and accidentally discharged it striking his son in the leg.
The incident took place in the 1800 block of 340th Street in Lee County.
Wright tried to drive to an area hospital for help, but called 911 and was instructed to pull over and apply pressure to stop the bleeding as emergency crews were sent to the scene.
According to Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber, the only charges in the case were a simple assault against Wright for knocking his father down. A review of the evidence with the Lee County Attorney’s office determined the father was within his rights on his property to defend himself with the weapon under Iowa’s Stand Your Ground laws.
This is the second case in the past two weeks where the law has been applied and charges have been dismissed against someone for the use of a firearm in an altercation.
On March 20, Adam Shaffer, a 19 year-old Fort Madison man was originally charged with attempted murder in the shooting of Zachariah Raines during an altercation in the 2600 block of Avenue I. However the charged were dropped when evidence showed that Shaffer was defending himself in a fight with Raines, who, according to trail information filed in the case, pursued Shaffer onto a neighbor’s property.
In 2017, Iowa adopted legislation allowing law-abiding citizens to use deadly force in defense of themselves, their property or others on their own land and in public when they perceive they are in a dangerous situation.
Iowa code also allows for the person using deadly force to be wrong in their estimation of the danger or the force necessary as long as the belief of danger was reasonable. Iowa code also provides that no one has a duty to retreat from any place they are lawfully present.
“After going through the witness statements with the County Attorney’s office, the only charges filed will be against the son for assaulting his father,” Weber said Thursday afternoon.
He said the Stand Your Ground law is pretty clear.
“It used to be we had some laws to apply here and there was some common sense to it. But it’s pretty clear now. If you’re at your place and you’re not doing anything wrong and someone is there and committing a crime against you, you have a right to defend yourself,” Weber said.
“That would have been the case here even if the shooting was intentional. But evidence shows that wasn’t the case. It was an accidental discharge.”
Wright was booked into the Lee County Jail and then released after being treated at Fort Madison Community Hospital.