Police arrest man, 70, in Petaluma shooting

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A 61-year-old man was hospitalized with small-bore gunshot wounds and his 70-year-old neighbor is suspected of attempted murder after a fight in Petaluma on Tuesday evening.

The shooting was reported shortly after 5 p.m. at a town home complex in the 100 block of Ellis Street, according to the Petaluma Police Department.

William P. Hanson, 70, who had been acting erratically in a parking lot near the town homes, got into a verbal altercation with a 61-year-old neighbor, said Paul Gilman, a detective sergeant with the Petaluma Police Department. Their interaction turned from a “nose-to-nose” confrontation into more of a “wrestling match,” Gilman said.

At some point in the brawl, Hanson drew a five-shot, .22-caliber derringer and shot the other man in the torso, according to the Police Department. Bystanders restrained Hanson until police officers arrived.

“It was definitely an unusual firearm for a shooting like this,” Gilman said. “A derringer’s definitely a very easily concealable firearm.”

The victim was hospitalized with what appeared to be entry and exit wounds and is expected to survive, Gilman said.

Hanson was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm. He remained in the Sonoma County Jail on Wednesday afternoon on a $1 million bond.

Police are continuing to investigate what prompted the fight, Gilman said.

“Once this happened, people started saying that he had been problematic, causing issues in the town home complex,” Gilman said. “We’re still trying to get to the bottom of that.”

You can reach Staff Writer Will Schmitt at 707-521-5207 or

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