Alberta farmer charged with shooting suspected thief
An Alberta farmer who is facing charges after police say he chased and shot at an alleged thief last Thursday has people from across the province rallying to his defence.
Brian Knight was charged with seven offences, including assault and criminal negligence, after police say he took the law into his own hands when he thought someone was stealing his All-Terrain Vehicle.
Since Knight was charged last week, he has become a hot topic in the region, being discussed in print and local talk radio stations. One newspaper published a column that called for charges against Knight to be dropped.
A website has even been set up for people wanting to donate to his legal fund.
According to a police report, Knight saw three people trying to take his ATV in the early hours of March 26, chased them in his car and ran the ATV off the road, crashing his car in process. Police say Knight fired his shotgun at one of the suspects trying to get away.
"We believe the farmer exited his car and discharged two rounds to the suspect with a shotgun," said acting Sgt. Jim Lank of the RCMP.
The suspected thief was treated in Edmonton for non-life threatening injuries and is still recovering. He has been charged with stealing a quad and a truck. Charges against the other two involved are still pending.
Citizens in the small town of Bashaw, located just north of Red Deer, have come out in support of Knight.
"I don't agree that somebody can come in, take your stuff and you can't do anything about it," said Virginia Stewart, a resident of Bashaw.
A friend of Knight's, Vern Ferguson, is another one of Knight's local supporters. He even said he'd do the same, if it happened to him.
But despite the local support, Ferguson doesn't think Knight will emerge unscathed.
"Brian's going to be the big loser," he said. "And that's not right."
However, Lank doesn't feel the same way.
"These are some serious charges that could have ended up in a fatality as well," he said.
In all, four people, including Knight, were charged after the events on Knight's farm. Knight will appear in court on April 9.