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Homeowner defends himself with handgun

February 18, 2018 News Extra

Ryan D. Bigler

WINFIELD TWP — A homeowner fired a handgun at a sport utility vehicle late Saturday night after police say the driver of that vehicle tried to run over the victim.

The gunfire caused the driver to back up the vehicle, which struck a tree. He took off on foot, authorities said, and later hid a duffel bag containing a handgun and around $19,000.

Police eventually found the duffel bag and arrested the suspect. But they admit they have many unanswered questions about the case.

“We’re still trying to figure everything out,” state police Lt. Eric Hermick said today.

Ryan D. Bigler, 30, whose last known address was in Middlesex Township, is being held in the Butler County Prison without bail. He is facing a list of charges including felony assault.

Police believe the defendant since mid-January has been harassing the victims, a husband and wife who live on Spiker Road in Winfield Township.

“(Bigler) believed (the victims) were the cause of a personal problem,” Hermick said. “But he may have been mistaken or delusional.”

The couple said the man has sent them ominous text messages, according to court documents, and “pictures of guns threatening to harm them.”

They also remembered him following them in a black Chevrolet Tahoe from their house to a shopping plaza.

The 38-year-old husband recounted seeing the same vehicle about 11:30 p.m. Saturday when he returned home. The victim backed his vehicle into the home’s detached garage and began walking up the driveway.

The Chevy Tahoe “began to accelerate towards (the victim),” according to a police affidavit. “Fearing the vehicle would hit him, he pulled a gun from his waistband and fired two rounds at the moving vehicle.”

Hermick said police believe the homeowner who shot his gun acted in self-defense and would not be charged.