Tuesday, February 20, 2024

No jail time in weapon incident

by Tom Hasslinger
| June 22, 2010 9:00 PM

COEUR d'ALENE - The Coeur d'Alene man who wielded a gun downtown in January pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace on Monday.

As a result of the plea, Bradley D. Chapman, 22, will surrender his firearm to the city of Coeur d'Alene.

Chapman will not be required to pay a fine as part of turning over the .45 pistol, and will avoid jail.

The misdemeanor charge was the result of an early morning altercation downtown Jan. 30 Chapman had with a group of other men after the bars had closed.

"The message I hear is that - and I would agree for sure - is that guns and alcohol don't mix well at all," said Magistrate Judge Barry Watson. "If I were a person in your place I would not be at those bars at 2 in the morning. It just leads to trouble."

Watson suspended 170 of the 180 days in jail. Credited for two days served, Chapman will fill the remaining days on a sheriff's labor program for 32 hours. He will also be placed on one year of unsupervised probation.

"I just, understand how serious this is," Chapman told the judge. "I'm just trying to change, you know, I guess where I hang out and who I hang out with."

Chapman was originally arrested for aggravated battery near the Third Street parking lot and Front Avenue around 2:30 that morning. Soon after, those charges were downgraded to possession of a concealed weapon while intoxicated.

The incident occurred as Chapman was leaving the Baja Bargarita on North Second Street. Witness testimonies varied on what happened, according to police reports, but shots were never fired.

Chapman told officers at the scene he began walking away from the group of five to eight men, some of whom followed Chapman to his truck parked on Sherman Avenue.

Defense attorney David Lohman said Chapman and his friend were being beaten and kicked as they tried to walk away.

According to police reports, Chapman said he retrieved the weapon after reaching his truck and placed it in his pants, but one witness, who was following Chapman telling him to "go home," said Chapman got the gun out of his truck and pointed it at the witness, chasing him to near the parking lot where the rest of the group was.

The incident ended in a physical altercation off Front Avenue, leaving Chapman in need of medical attention. City attorney Wes Somerton said it was an "unfortunate situation" in which Chapman was not the aggressor, but a situation that was fueled by "lots of alcohol."

"A drunken-fueled melee," he called it.

Many of the people involved had been drinking downtown that night.

"There's a saturation of bars in the area, if you want to crack down on the problem, shut it down a little bit earlier," Lohman said of the late night downtown activity. "Late night drinking and crowded together ... problems will ensue."

It was the second high profile incident involving a firearm outside the downtown bars in just over a month at the time.

A late night shooting Dec. 27 left two Washington men injured. That incident involved Adam Johnson, whose charges of attempted murder and aggravated battery were dismissed by prosecutors following a grand jury hearing.

Since both instances, city officials, law enforcement agencies and downtown bar and business owners have been taking steps to make downtown safer, included increased police patrols downtown, and bar sweeps to ensure bartenders aren't over-serving.