‘Not the Wild West’: Lost drivers fired at in Fauquier Co.

Twice in one week, drivers in Fauquier County, Virginia were scared by gunshots after GPS directions mistakenly took them onto private properties.

“This is not the Wild West,” sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. James Hartman told the Fauquier Times. “You don’t have the right to shoot first and ask questions later.”

Tuesday, a woman and her daughter followed GPS directions, and realized they had ended up in someone’s driveway. She told NBC4 as she made a U-turn to try to get back to the road, three men came out of home, onto a porch and fired a shot.

Before she got to the end of the driveway, the homeowner had hopped in a car and tailed her, flashing headlights.

Dale Fisher, 52, of Catlett, was charged with one count of reckless handling of a firearm and released on a summons, according to Hartman.

In a similar case, three days earlier, workers in two trucks were following GPS directions, and mistakenly turned onto private property.

According to the incident report, the homeowner drove toward the trucks, trying to block their way out. At one point he allegedly pointed a gun toward them, as the lost drivers drove away — one passenger heard a gunshot.

Joseph Gargan, 58, of Middleburg, was charged with two counts of brandishing a firearm and one count of reckless handling of a firearm, according to Hartman.

Hartman said home owners are allowed to use weapons to protect property in some cases. However, simple trespassing isn’t one of those allowable uses.

“In these cases had (the homeowners) just talked to the folks they probably could have helped them out, and sent them on their way,” Hartman told NBC4.

Watch the NBC Washington report:

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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