Plea Deal For Rochester Area Man Charged With Shootings
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - A rural Rochester man today entered into a plea agreement and admitted to gross misdemeanor harassment charges for a series of shootings that occurred on New Year's Day.
In exchange, Olmsted County prosecutors will drop 6 counts of second-degree assault against 64-year-old Paul Reichel. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21st.
Reichel was arrested after an Olmsted County Deputy responded to a call in Farmington Township on January 1st and met up with a man who had been hunting pheasants with two other men on land he owns near Elgin. He told the deputy they spotted a pheasant in a ditch after they left his property and stopped to see if they would be able to shoot it, but left when a woman came out of a nearby home and yelled at them.
After they drove away, the man told the deputy that a pickup passed them at a high rate of speed before stopping at an angle blocking the road. According to the criminal complaint, the man in the pickup got out of the vehicle holding what appeared to be an AR-15 rifle and pointed it at the hunter's vehicle. He responded by driving away and told the deputy he heard what sounded like several gunshots.
The victim told the deputy the man with the gun then resumed chasing the hunters and fired his gun at least two more times after he caught up with them at an intersection along 75th Street Northwest. The victim indicated the chase ended while he was driving in the direction of Rochester and saw the shooter's pickup go into the ditch.
An investigator from the Sheriff's Office searched the area near where the first confrontation took place and located Reichel. The complaint stated that he was upset with the hunters and claimed they had threatened his wife. He also admitted shooting his gun in their direction but not at the group of men. It was also alleged that Reichel spoke with detention deputies after he was brought to the Olmsted County Jail and stated, "they started this, I just made the mistake in not finishing it."
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