By Joe Beck
A man charged with three gun-related offenses linked to a standoff with authorities in Front Royal last week fired a shot that landed at the feet of one of his neighbors, according to a criminal complaint filed in Warren County General District Court.
The defendant, John Edward Robinson, 59, made his initial court appearance Tuesday. He is charged with firing a gun at an occupied home, reckless handling of a gun and firing a gun within town limits.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Fleming said after the hearing that Robinson was advised of his right to an attorney. Robinson told Judge Dale Houck that he wanted to hire his own lawyer. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 3.
Fleming said Robinson is out of jail on $15,000 unsecured bond.
The criminal complaint filed by Detective Sgt. Jason Ryman of the Front Royal Police Department adds several details to the initial police reports of Robinson's arrest last week.
Police responded to a call around 10 a.m. Wednesday of shots fired at Robinson's home at 735 W. 15th St., authorities said. Several officers in squad cars arrived and were told by a neighbor that Robinson had fired off several rounds behind his residence, according to the complaint.
One man said he tried to speak to Robinson over a property fence, but Robinson fired another round "in what he described as his direction," the complaint states.
"The neighbor stated the round struck the ground somewhere just below where he was standing," the complaint states.
While police were interviewing neighbors, Robinson squeezed off another round from the rear door of his house, the complaint states. Another neighbor reported to police that "Robinson had pointed the firearm in the direction of his and his neighbors' residence, fired, and then returned back inside."
Robinson agreed to come outside and was arrested after speaking by telephone with a police department hostage negotiator, according to authorities.
The complaint states he initially denied firing any guns, but later "admitted to firing a .357 revolver behind his residence." Robinson made the admission after receiving a mental health evaluation following his arrest, according to the complaint.
Police said at the time of Robinson's arrest they found many guns and ammunition in his house. A list of items seized during the execution of a search warrant was unavailable Tuesday, but Ryman said in an interview that "somewhere around 20" handguns were found.
Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or firstname.lastname@example.org