A Guerneville man was convicted Monday of assault with a deadly weapon for shooting a handmade arrow through the roof of a car parked in front of his apartment, striking one of two men sitting inside.
The January incident sparked a two-day SWAT action that shut down part of Guerneville as Sonoma County sheriff?s deputies surrounded the Mill Street apartment believing the suspected shooter was still inside.
But Shaun David Gallon, 30, apparently had left the apartment before sheriff?s deputies secured it. He turned himself in to authorities five weeks later and was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
The victim, James McNeil of Monte Rio, wasn?t seriously injured. He suffered a bruise and small puncture wound to his head.
Gallon?s attorney did not dispute that his client shot the arrow. But he offered no witnesses in his defense, nor any reason why Gallon fired upon the car.
There was no apparent connection between Gallon and the occupants of the car, which was parked on the town?s main thoroughfare at about 10 a.m. on Jan. 27 when the incident occurred.
After a two-day trial and closing arguments from attorneys, Judge Gary Medvigy took only a few minutes Monday to rule that Gallon was guilty of assault with a deadly weapon.
Gallon?s attorney, Gerald Villarreal, argued that the handmade wooden bow and arrow weren?t deadly and that Gallon didn?t shoot it with enough force to seriously hurt or kill anyone. He argued for a simple assault charge.
Introducing the arrow as evidence, prosecutor Rosanne Darling argued that the weapon was indeed lethal.
?It?s not possible for this to be considered anything but a weapon that could cause great bodily injury or death,? she said.
Gallon?s father, David, testified Monday that he believed the incident must have been an accident. He said his son was a gentle man who wouldn?t purposely shoot an arrow at another person.
He said his son was skilled at carving wooden bows and making arrows, including lashing flint or rock arrowheads to the tips with a synthetic tie similar to sinew.
In issuing his verdict, Medvigy noted the high level of artistic skill apparent in the arrow?s construction.
?These are works of art,? he said. ?This is very delicate work.?
But, they are also deadly when fired at an estimated distance of 60 to 100 feet, he said: ?There is no doubt it is a substantial weapon.?
Medvigy said it was fortuitous that McNeil was struck in the skull rather than a softer area like his neck, where the arrow may have penetrated and caused serious injury.
Gallon, in custody on $75,000 bail, will return to court July 21 to be sentenced. The charge carries a potential prison term between two and four years in prison, although he could be sentenced to jail and probation.