There are three different explanations for a shot fired in Mesa del Caballo Saturday night in the midst of a heated argument and any one of them would have ended in the arrest of Joseph Steven Gehring for aggravated assault.
According to a Gila County Sheriff's Department press release, Gehring, 47, the owner of the Houston Mesa General Store, said the shot fired from his 380 automatic was an accident which occurred when he dropped the weapon and it discharged.
In an interview with the Roundup, however, Gehring said that he had intentionally fired a warning shot into the air.
And the man he was arguing with at the time, Adam Trubee, 19, told the GCSD that Gehring pulled the gun out of his pocket, stated, "I'm going to kill you," pointed the weapon directly at him, and fired the weapon once.
"Regardless, that's aggravated assault," said a Gila County Sheriff's Department spokesman, confirming that Gehring was arrested at about 7:30 p.m. Saturday. According to the spokesman, the gunplay began as a verbal argument between Gehring and Trubee, identified as a laborer who has been in Gehring's employ.
"They argued as to whether or not the man owed Gehring money ... there were a number of punches thrown by both men," the spokesman said.
Trubee, in his statement to the sheriff's department, said that when he tried to leave the scene following the fistfight, Gehring reached into his front pocket, retrieved a 380 automatic and threatened him verbally. Gehring then pointed and fired the gun at him from a distance of approximately 30 feet, Trubee said.
In Gehring's account to deputies, the weapon fell from his grasp as he removed it from his pocket and discharged upon hitting the ground.
When deputies arrived on the scene, a search warrant was executed, the handgun was obtained, and Gehring was taken into custody.
He has since been released on bond.
"I've filed a complaint against Trubee because he started the whole thing," Gehring said Tuesday. "I was just reacting to what he did. But I've been under a lot of stress. Maybe I overreacted a little, I don't know. Maybe I kinda snapped."