To three Rose Hill teenagers roaming the back roads of Sedgwick County on a summer Saturday night, a dead possum in the middle of the road looked like a great opportunity to pull a prank on a buddy.
To a 47-year-old man living on East 79th Street South, the youngsters who had pulled over in the entrance to his driveway shortly before 11:15 p.m. on Saturday looked like they were up to no good.
The man fired three warning shots with a small-caliber rifle, Sedgwick County sheriff's Sgt. Tim Myers said, which was enough to convince the two teens who had climbed out of their Honda to fetch the possum that their prank wasn't worth dying over.
They got back into their car in the 15000 block of East 79th Street South and were driving away when the home owner fired a shot into the back window of the car, Myers said.
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The bullet hit a 17-year-old boy riding in the back seat in his back. He was treated at Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis and released.
The 47-year-old man who lived where the teens pulled over was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on suspicion of three counts of aggravated assault and one count of aggravated battery.
He told deputies he thought the people who had stopped in his driveway were stealing road signs, Myers said.
"They had done nothing wrong," Myers said of the teens. "They were leaving."
Firing warning shots "is a little bit different than firing a shot at somebody that's retreating," Myers said.
Investigators will meet with the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office later this week to present evidence in the case, Myers said.