CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A man facing a charge of Aggravated Assault is accused of brandishing a BB gun in the incident, but court documents say that the victims in the case were unaware that the weapon was a BB gun.
Laramie County Circuit Court Documents show that the victim has been charged with one county of Aggravated Assault and Battery, which Wyoming statute says can carry a potential penalty of up to ten years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both. The statute defines the charge as when a person “did threaten to use a drawn deadly weapon on another unless reasonably necessary in defense of his person, property or abode, or to prevent serious bodily injury to another.”
An affidavit of probable cause filed by the Laramie County Sheriff’s Office says that deputies received a call on August 27 just after 9:20 p.m. for a reported disturbance on South Fork Road in Laramie County. LCSO officials say that they arrived on the scene and found a vehicle parked in the middle of the roadway near a private residence. Deputies say that they made contact with the suspect at the vehicle. Court documents identify him as Jason Ray Hellings, born in 1981.
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Residents of the nearby private home as well as witnesses told police that the suspect had retrieved a gun from his vehicle before pointing it at the residents of the home.
The witness “demonstrated that Jason took a single hand shooting stance while pointing the gun,” LCSO investigators wrote in the affidavit.
The gun was later identified as a CO2-powered BB gun. However, in the affidavit it was indicated that the residents of the home thought the gun was “real” and that they felt their lives were threatened.
“The BB gun had no toy markings or colors to suggest it was a toy,” deputies state in the affidavit.
During an interview, it was reported that Hellings admitted to law enforcement that he had pulled the BB gun out and pointed it at the victims. He additionally claimed that the residents of the home had brandished a baseball bat and an axe when he first approached the home unarmed, and alleged that he had been struck with the bat.
Charges were officially filed against Hellings on August 30. He is expected to be scheduled for a preliminary hearing to see if the case will be bound over to Laramie County District Court. All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office.