NEWS

Gun-toting 'idiot' terrorized Grand Falls-Windsor neighbourhood, says judge

06/26/2015 12:45 EDT | Updated 06/26/2016 05:59 EDT
A central Newfoundland man is in jail after pleading guilty to an alcohol-fuelled assault, where a shotgun was fired, and a neighbourhood was terrorized.

Andrew Higgins, 25, walked the streets of Grand Falls-Windsor early on June 19 with a 12-gauge shotgun, after grabbing one woman by the throat and attacking a man.

Police were first called to an assault outside a home on Pinewood Avenue, where Higgins was seen beating up a man outside.

During his drunken rage, Higgins pointed the shotgun at the man and a second woman.

Witness heard gunshots

Shortly afterward, that same woman called police to say Higgins was headed to the other woman's home and that he was carrying a shotgun.

A terrified witness called RCMP to report hearing shots fired, saying she grabbed her son and told him to lie on the floor.

"You realized you terrorized the neighbourhood?" asked Judge Timothy Chalker.

"Can you imagine [having] to put your child on your floor because some idiot is off shooting a shotgun?"

The court heard that officers assembled a blockade around a home on 17th Avenue, and Higgins soon walked slowly out of the house with his hands in the air, with slurred speech and blood-shot eyes.

Court was also told that one of Higgins' victims was screaming at the RCMP, asking that they not arrest him, despite being assaulted herself.

The woman, who was described as being uncooperative, even tried to take the blame for Higgins breaking out the window of his truck.

Didn't shoot at anyone

Police later found the shotgun under a bed of the home on Pinewood Avenue, with an expended cartridge that smelled as if it had been fired. Higgins did not have a licence to operate a firearm. 

The case was dealt with swiftly, with Higgins being sentenced within a week of the charges being laid.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of assault, pointing a shotgun and having the gun unsecured

The Crown dropped the charge of uttering death threats.

There was no evidence that Higgins shot the gun at anyone.

"I'd just like to apologize for my actions," Higgins told the court, when given a chance to speak. "They were reckless and dangerous."

"When I drink sometimes my temper can get set off."

Chalker sentenced Higgins to six months in jail, minus credit for time served, followed by 12 months of probation.

He'll be prohibited from owning a weapon for a minimum of 10 years, and is under an order not to contact anyone involved in the incident. 

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