Anyone looking out their window on July 5, 2003, in Anoka County Minnesota may have been convinced they were watching a re-enactment of a Grade B movie where the protagonist blows away his car with a shotgun.
Damian Petersen, 34 plead guilty that August. The July afternoon had seen him but 11 bullets into the hood of his brother’s car. Damian wanted to kill it. Damian turned out to be the first from Minnesota to see his gun permit suspended.
An Anoka County District judge suspended Petersen’s two-week old license. Despite pleading guilty, Petersen saw his record wiped clean in 2005 for not re-offending.
Petersen was charged following an argument with his brother Devin.
After the argument, Damian heard tires squealing and a sudden bang in front of his house. His brother, Devin, had backed his 1989 Cougar over a retaining wall and was stuck. Devin tried to free the car but instead tore up Damian’s lawn.
Damian and Devin got into a yelling match. Damian took a few swings at Devon — but missed. Damian went into the house, found his 10-millimeter pistol and emptied the magazine into the vehicle’s engine.
While Damian reloaded, Devin managed to get his car unstuck and drove around the house while Damian tried to shoot out the tires as Devin fled.
When law enforcement questioned Damian, the first thing the shooter said was, “I was trying to kill the motor.”
“He was ruining my property and wouldn’t stop,” Damian added. “The only thing I could think to do was get my gun and kill his car.”
Damian’s attorney, Joe Kaminsky said his client was a “hard-working guy who just had a bad day.”
The law under which Petersen was charged is still contentious. When a permit holder is arrested the prosecution’s work begins. The prosecutors must decide if the defendant has committed a disqualifying offense. That category, “disqualifying offense” includes minor offenses like harassment or stalking as well as violent crime.
Petersen may not have been the sole licensee to see his permit taken away. At the time, there were two other cases which could be similar to the Anoka County incident.
Dakota County Sheriff Greg Peterson petitioned a judge to suspend a man’s permit following his arrest. Charged with harassment and assault, the judge verbally ordered the suspension pending the case’s outcome.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Department knows of another case that resulted in the suspension. The man was detained by law enforcement in a different county for offenses that led to the suspension. The Sheriff’s spokesman Mike Johnson wasn’t aware of the scope of charges.
Of the Damian – Devon shoot off, Rebecca Thoman Director of Citizens for a Safer Minnesota said, “This is a simple case of a man turning to a gun in the heat of the moment.”
Joseph Olson, president of the Minnesota-based Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance, said, “No one ever claimed permit holders are perfect.”
“There are alway exceptions and this guy is a moron,” Olson added.