Atwater, CA – A mayor of a California town had his gun taken away and was cited for firing at squirrels from his truck at the local airport.
Atwater Mayor Jim Price shot at the squirrels from his truck Jan. 11 at Castle Airport, which is an active airport, according to KOVR-TV.
One of the bullets apparently caught the attention of a man at the airport. James Allen, 26, said he was parked in his car just outside the airport and was reading a book when he heard a gunshot.
“I head a pop and a snap go over my head,” Allen said. “He was shooting in my direction.”
Allen said he heard a bullet whizz by him.
“As you can imagine, I got pretty scared, and I bounced,” Allen said, according to KOVR.
Allen called the police and multiple Merced County Sheriff’s deputies arrived. The deputies surrounded the mayor’s truck near where the shots had been fired.
“To find out that it was the mayor shooting in the direction where people jog and have lunch and stuff like that, mind-blowing; like I could not believe it,” Allen said.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke said that Mayor Price owns a business that provides fuel services at the airport. Price was allegedly shooting at the squirrels to keep them off the flight path. Police said Price did not have a permit to shoot wildlife or to fire a gun on a flight path, according to KOVR.
The mayor was issued a ticket for both violations. Police also confiscated the mayor’s rifle and ordered Price to give up his concealed carry permit, which was issued by the Atwater police chief.
Allen said it was a slap on the wrist.
“He should definitely be held to a higher standard. Honestly, I was terrified,” Allen said.