Florida Highway Patrol trooper accused of aiming gun at his father

SPRING HILL — A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was arrested Tuesday after a weekend incident in which he is accused of aiming a pistol at his father during a domestic dispute.

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office gave this report:

FHP Trooper Jonathan Powell, 23, went to the Spring Hill home of his father, Jeffery Powell, 46, on Saturday night with his girlfriend, Kourtney Schneegas, to get his motorcycle.

A woman told the trooper that Jeffery Powell had been allowing excessive drinking and drug use during a party and was trying to keep people from leaving the house.

The son and father began to argue outside the home. When the trooper grabbed his father and told him he couldn't keep people from leaving the property, Jeffery Powell pushed him out of the way.

Jonathan Powell went to his truck and retrieved his FHP-issued .40-caliber Beretta pistol and yelled at his father to get away from everyone and to stay back. His father, he said, charged toward him saying, "Are you going to … shoot me?"

The trooper said he aimed his pistol at his father's torso and told deputies that he was prepared to use his weapon against his father if necessary. He later said that he would have changed his aim if he had to shoot his father.

Jonathan Powell acknowledged that his father was unarmed and had not threatened him or anyone else. The trooper could not explain why he had felt it necessary to use his pistol other than that his father's behavior was aggressive.

While this confrontation was going on, the people at the house began to leave the residence.

The trooper called 911 but when deputies arrived, he did not tell them about the incident involving the gun.

On Tuesday, deputies went to Jeffery Powell's house on a child abuse complaint. An unidentified person who alleged that Jeffery Powell had grabbed the person's shoulder told deputies that Jonathan Powell had aimed a gun at his father days before.

Jonathan Powell was arrested on a felony charge of aggravated assault and was taken to the Hernando County Jail on a no-bond status. Deputies later went to his home and retrieved his duty belt, weapons and ammunition.

Jeffery Powell told a deputy, "I can't believe my son was going to shoot me after all I've done for him." But he did not want to get his son into any trouble. "Well, if my son's going to get in trouble, I'm just going to say I pushed him," he told the deputy.

Jeffery Powell declined to give a written statement and refused to sign for a domestic violence pamphlet.

A call to the FHP for comment was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Greg Hamilton can be reached at hamilton@sptimes.com or at (352) 754-6113.

Florida Highway Patrol trooper accused of aiming gun at his father 07/14/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 8:43pm]

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