Washington man waives endangerment charges; other charges withdrawn
Eric Lamont Williams Jr. arrives for his preliminary hearing at District Judge Robert Redlinger’s office on East Maiden Street in Washington Wednesday, October 9, 2013.
Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter
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A Washington man accused of firing shots into the air during an incident involving several Washington & Jefferson College students last month waived his case to court Wednesday after several charges were withdrawn.
Eric Lamont Williams Jr., 24, of 108 Hall Ave., waived seven counts of recklessly endangering another person to court in lieu of a preliminary hearing before District Judge Robert Redlinger.
Seven counts of terroristic threats and harassment, as well as one count of disorderly conduct, were withdrawn by the prosecution.
Police said Williams was in his pickup truck in the early morning hours of Sept. 6 in the 200 block of South Main Street when he allegedly pulled up to seven W&J students who were walking back to campus.
The students told Washington police that the driver, later identified as Williams, hung his head out of the vehicle and yelled “W&J is back in session, you better get back soon.”
He then allegedly fired rounds into the air from a .40-caliber handgun that was later found in the console of his truck.
He left the area driving west on West Maiden Street.
Two of the students contacted college security, who in turn notified city police.
Police were given a description of the truck.
Police found the truck, driven by Williams, a short time later in the 10 block of South Main.
A passenger in the truck told police that Williams got into an altercation with the students and fired two shots from the handgun into the air.
Chris Blackwell, Williams’ defense attorney, said the charges that were withdrawn were dismissed because they did not fit the crime.
“The question remains whether a person who lawfully possesses a gun and a permit to carry a concealed weapon can use it in self-defense during a confrontation with others,” Blackwell said after Wednesday’s appearance before Redlinger. “He felt threatened, so he took out his firearm.”
Blackwell said his client did not point the weapon at anyone.
“I will be arguing whether it is even reckless endangerment,” Blackwell said.
Williams remains free on $10,000 bond.
The incident that allegedly involved Williams occurred less than a year after W&J football player Tim McNerney was assaulted during a robbery in a parking lot at East Maiden and College streets as he and a friend were walking home from a bar. McNerney died of a head injury.