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15 March 2011 Issue

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Pigeon Shoot Protesters Claim Man Pulled Gun


By: MATT COUGHLIN

A group of pigeon shoot protesters said a man pulled a gun and threatened them after a demonstration outside a Warminster pool company Tuesday.

The people from Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, or SHARK, showed up at the Carlton Pools shop on York Road in Warminster late Tuesday morning to protest the owner's possession of a sport shooting facility in Hamburg, Berks County, where pigeons are tossed into the air in front of waiting sport shooters. But by the end of the day, they said, they were the ones who were looking down the barrel of a gun.

Carlton Pools is owned by Joseph Solana Jr., who also owns Wing Pointe in Hamburg, a luxury resort for shooting enthusiasts. The newspaper was unsuccessful in reaching Solana for comment. Police blocked the entrance to the pool shop building Tuesday morning from entry by a newspaper reporter.

SHARK president Steve Hindi said after protesting on the sidewalk for about two hours, the group was getting ready to leave for lunch when they saw a handful of men in a maroon Ford Expedition speed up to them, cross the path of their vehicle and then pull up next to them.

Hindi said that in the morning someone in an identical vehicle had been pointing a video camera at the protesters. But the vehicle sped away when Hindi tried to get the license plate.

After the vehicle pulled up next to his in the afternoon, the protesters and the driver exchanged angry words before the Expedition pulled away.

Hindi told his girlfriend Janet Enoch that they should get the vehicle's license plate. Hindi said he followed the SUV while Enoch tried to capture the license plate on video. They followed the SUV through several turns before it stopped on a side street and the driver and another man got out, Hindi said. Hindi and his girlfriend also got out.

Enoch said the driver grabbed her and struggled to get the video camera out of her hands. Hindi said he shoved the man away from his girlfriend and the driver pulled a gun.

According to Hindi, the man told the protesters they were "going to regret it now," and ordered his companion to call the police. However, according to Hindi, the friend convinced the man to get back into the SUV and leave.

Advertisement Hindi and Enoch drove to the police station, saved a copy of the digital video to their laptop and reported the incident to police. They said investigators seized the camera and the laptop. Tuesday night, Hindi was angry that police seized the laptop, noting that investigators have the original copy in the camera and that he wants his laptop back.

District Attorney David Heckler said he didn't know the details of the investigation and that there could be several reasons police seized the laptop and the camera. He said police will likely get the victim's personal property back as soon as the investigation allows.

Records indicate no arrest has been made. A woman at the Warminster police station said police have the newspaper's number and will call when they have something to release.

Less than five minutes after the protest began Tuesday morning, four police vehicles pulled up in front of the pool business, including several officers and a lieutenant. They asked the protesters to move out of the business' driveway and protesters complied.

Police incorrectly told the newspaper that a reporter was violating wiretap law by recording public officials conversing with citizens on a public thoroughfare. The reporter told police that his actions were legal because they were standing on a public thoroughfare. Police then said they were requesting that the recordings stop.

Later when the reporter attempted to enter the business to ask the owner for comment two officers blocked the reporter's path and said the owner didn't want to comment. They insisted on obtaining the reporter's identification while an officer went inside the business and returned to say that the reporter was not permitted onto the property.

Pigeon shooting and the protests against it have been contentious. Last year, a county assistant solicitor pleaded guilty to harassment after shoving Hindi during a protest in Bensalem outside a gun club. Previously the Humane Society filed charges against the gun club in connection with a wounded pigeon that was left to die, but those charges were later dismissed.

Source: Matt Coughlin , The Intelligencer


Pigeon Shoot Protesters Claim Man Pulled Gun

Pigeon Shoot Protesters Claim Man Pulled Gun


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