Dante’s Inferno: California Man Charged In Use of Flare Gun In Road Rage Incident

140625-dante-stewart-mug-356a_4f1612fe2dbed6698ca84eba6f12968a.nbcnews-ux-720-900One of the concerns about the increasing number of gun permits and open carry laws is road rage. Those concerns magnified this month with a number of road rage incidents involving guns. In Sacramento, a man punched another man in a traffic argument and was shot in the face. Of course, gun advocates could argue that road rage can involve a variety of lethal weapons, including the car itself. A case in point would be another case in California where Dante Stewart, 63, set another car on fire in a road rage incident with the flare gun.

Police say that Stewart pulled out a flare gun and fired it into another car around 4 p.m. and that car caught on fire with four people inside. He is facing charges of arson and assault with a deadly weapon.

21795279_BG6 In North Carolina, Bradley Turner, 40, allegedly was upset that another man cut him off. He reportedly punched the victim after following him to his house. The victim’s friend videotaped what happened in the encounter. After her husband punched the victim, Christy Turner, 30, came out with a gun. Police say that her husband shot at the victims — hitting both the victim’s car and neighbor’s home. He has been charged with discharging a weapon into property, two counts of assault by pointing a gun, Going Armed to the Terror of People, Injury to Personal Property and Assault. Christy Turner has been charged with two counts of assault by pointing a gun.

Here is the video:

In the meantime, in Sacramento, Donald Bell claimed self-defense after shooting Timothy Mann in the face. The Mann family was out for a birthday brunch when a pickup truck cut them off. They say that they barely avoided an accident by slamming on their brakes after the pickup hit its brakes in front of them. Mann jumped out to confront Bell as his son and wife remained in the car. Bell brandished a gun but Mann still hit him. Bell insisted that the hit was so hard that the gun simply went off and this was an accident and part of self-defense. However, two weeks later, police received a call that said “My name is Donald R. Bell. I was involved in that Hazel incident that happened two weeks ago,” he said. “I am going to serve justice on myself.” He then went to the spot where he killed Mann and blew his own brains out.

Then there is this video posted this week though the authenticity cannot be independently confirmed. However, many of these incidents involve one of the crimes charged in the Turner case (pointing a gun at someone):

What is interesting about all of these incidents is how video technology can be used with the same effect as police abuse cases. Increasing citizens are videotaping encounters and creating important new forms of evidence in cases that were once left as simply of difference of accounts.

As for the flare gun case, the classification of the flare gun as a deadly weapon will be easy to establish. The combination could result in serious time for Stewart. The fact that the flare was shot into a car as opposed to at an approaching attacker would make self-defense claims more challenging. That should increase the chances of a plea in the case.

10 thoughts on “Dante’s Inferno: California Man Charged In Use of Flare Gun In Road Rage Incident”

  1. Jerry,

    The chief with the machine guns and the Glock 18 is one loose canon. He needs a psych evaluation in my view.

  2. Yes, that is scary! Where did the sense of authority and the responsibility go? What happened that people no longer realize they are a reference for character development for children? Where’s the self-discipline? It doesn’t speak well for the future of the country.

  3. And you thought those everyday road rage incidents…With guns were bad?

    Here’s a PA Police Chief who apologizes and says he’s sorry. Now this is disturbing.

  4. Where has all the animosity in our society come from? Seems like people are wired to tight now, they just blow up. I think this scenario points to an even larger problem. The talk of weapons is kind of irrelevant. As Saucy points out, it just doesn’t start and stop with flipping the bird to someone anymore. And it seems to me this whole thing started to grow right about 20 years ago.

  5. I find that most people who carry a gun are less likely to enter into confrontations – the consequences of escalation are too severe.

    The Turner case hardly illustrates the dangers of carrying a gun – Bradly did not have the gun, his wife came out and armed him.

    I suspect that most of us would be hard pressed to make a cool decision after being pummeled/knocked down by two individuals.

    I think that the column would have been better directed at warning of the dangers of having your spouse arm you after you have started and lost a fight.

  6. Twenty years ago I was on a highway and took an exit to another highway. It was snowing during rush hour and traffic was slow. Civilized people learned long ago that when traffic is entering a road, the courteous thing to do is alternate cars. The car in front of me entered the highway in front of carX, carX drove past, and then I entered after carX. But the driver of the next highway vehicle, smalltruckF, must have thought that it was his God-given right to follow carX because he gave me the finger. I just drove on. Traffic was lighter after the interchange and when smalltruckF could do so, it pulled into the left lane, sped past me, pulled into my lane, and slammed on his brakes.

    On a beltway highway separated by a grass median, an 18-year-old female driver was moving the steering wheel from left to right to impress the other vacuous teenagers in the vehicle (this was her story). Her vehicle, a Suburban, was in the left lane. The 18-year-old lost control (so she said) and her large vehicle crossed the median and struck a minivan filled with a family. She must have struck the left-front of the minivan because only (!) the father was killed; his wife and small children lived. The 18-year-old was only given probation.

    The problem is not solely firearms, though we certainly have a problem there. Road rage is a metaphor for our broken society and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will not be fixing it any time soon.

  7. Flare guns are a weapon of opportunity. This is not something that you can for defense. The deadly weapon charge could go either way.

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