A Pawlet man is being held without bail after police said he fired a gun July 23 at the downstairs tenants in his home, allegedly hitting an air conditioner three times that was in the window of a room where one of the tenants was located.
Stanley F.S. Peterson, 37, of Pawlet, pleaded not guilty in Rutland criminal court on July 24 to two felony counts of aggravated assault with a weapon, two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment and a misdemeanor count of unlawful mischief.
Peterson was held without bail. According to the Vermont Department of Corrections inmate locator, Peterson was in the Springfield jail as of Wednesday afternoon.
The charges against Peterson were based on an affidavit written by Trooper Ryan Gardner of the Vermont State Police, who said police were called to the home where Peterson lives on Route 30 in Pawlet around 9:30 p.m. July 23.
Peter Hadeka, 40, who lived at the home, said Peterson, who he said lived in an apartment upstairs from him, had fired five shots from a handgun at Hadeka’s home and threatened to kill his family and dog.
Gardner said Granville, New York, police also responded to the scene. After troopers and Granville police reached what Gardner said was a long driveway, he said he learned Peterson called 911 and said his tenant had damaged a door.
Dispatchers told Peterson to go outside and walk down the driveway to police with his hands up but Peterson refused, the affidavit said. Gardner said Peterson told the dispatchers he was unarmed and his guns were in a safe but said he wouldn’t leave his own apartment until the tenants were removed.
Peterson than hung up, less than 10 minutes after calling 911.
The affidavit said Peterson left his apartment and walked down the driveway around 10:15 p.m. but Gardner said Peterson was still not following commands from police and was “detained” by troopers because he was trying to walk away and wouldn’t keep his hands up.
After Peterson was in custody, Hadeka showed the air conditioning unit to Gardner who said he saw what appeared to be three bullet holes in the unit and a spot that had been grazed by a bullet.
Hadeka said his roommate, Shasta Perez, was in her room, where the air conditioning unit was, when she told him she thought the unit had been shot. He said he went outside to take a look at it when Hadeka allegedly saw Peterson with a flashlight in one hand and a gun in the other.
Hadeka said Peterson made threats that scared him because he believed Peterson had shot at Hadeka’s vehicles in the past, and Hadeka knew that Peterson allegedly had many guns.
While Hadeka told police Peterson threatened him with a handgun, Gardner said he found 20-gauge shotgun casings outside the home.
Police executed a search warrant at Peterson’s home later on July 24 and seized 10 guns, according to the affidavit.
There was no indication in the affidavit about why Peterson would shoot at his tenants’ home, and there was no indication that police had questioned Peterson.
The Rutland County State’s Attorney’s Office, through Ray Sun, a deputy state’s attorney, asked that Peterson be held without bail based on several factors including the accusations of violence.
Sun said Hadeka and Perez would be in danger if Peterson was released.
“The evidence indicates that (Peterson) fired a shotgun into a window unit air conditioner installed in Mr. Hadeka and Ms. Perez’s home and then when they emerged from their home to investigate the sounds of gunshots and the broken air conditioner, he threatened to kill them while holding the shotgun that he had just fired. This extreme violent and threatening conduct demonstrates deep animosity toward Mr. Hadeka and Ms. Perez and the ability and inclination to use lethal force against them,” Sun wrote.
If convicted of all the charges against him, Peterson could be sentenced to up to 12 years and six months in jail.