Man arrested after shooting alleged pistol thief

Published 2:14 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A homeowner whose pistol was apparently stolen was arrested Thursday, May 11, when he reportedly shot the alleged thief with a shotgun after he had tried to run away.

Chief Deputy Mike Haley of the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office said that WPSO deputies responded to a report of a man being shot south of Franklinton on Thursday, May 11. When deputies arrived in the area, they reportedly discovered the gunshot victim lying on the side of Highway 25.

Haley said that the on-scene investigation revealed that the gunshot victim was from Louisville, Miss., and was visiting at the residence of Wilson Glenn Rowell, 33, who lives on Highway 25 South. As the victim was attempting to leave the residence and secure a ride back to Mississippi, Rowell discovered that the victim had stolen a 9-mm pistol from Rowell’s residence and was attempting to hide the pistol in his luggage, Haley said.

Haley said that Rowell confronted the victim about the pistol, at which point the victim reportedly pointed the pistol at Rowell, his wife and his mother. Rowell then reportedly retreated to his house, retrieved his shotgun and confronted the victim.

After a brief standoff, the victim threw the pistol to the ground and started running away, Haley said. Rowell then reportedly fired three shots at the victim, striking him twice.

The victim was transported to an area hospital. He remains in the hospital, and will be arrested upon release and charged with theft of a firearm and three counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, Haley said.

Rowell was arrested and transported to the Washington Parish Jail, charged with aggravated battery and two outstanding warrants for contempt of court and failure to appear. His bond was set at $50,200. He was released Tuesday, after meeting the conditions of his bond.

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said that Rowell was arrested because the alleged thief was considered to no longer be a threat at the time.

“Under Louisiana law, a person has the right of self-defense when life-threatening situations occur,” Seal said. “But Mr. Rowell made a serious error in judgment when he shot the victim after the threat had ended and the victim was fleeing. I appreciate the fine work of our officers in this matter.”