MACON — A Macon man was convicted by a jury of two counts of aggravated assault Thursday after sheriff's deputies said he pointed a shotgun at a family when they set off fireworks near his home.
Andrew Strahle, 29, had faced two counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, a felony, but the Macon County Circuit Court jury, after a two-day trial, deliberated for an hour and 45 minutes before returning with guilty verdicts on the two lesser offenses, which are Class A misdemeanors.
Strahle is due to be sentenced by Judge Jeffrey Geisler on Feb. 7. He could face up to a year in jail.
The charges stem from an incident June 17 when a man and two women took children to the empty lot in Macon to let off fireworks.
One rocket had exploded when Strahle came out of the garage of his nearby home with a 12-gauge shotgun, cocked it and said something like "You almost got shot," according to sworn affidavits from the Macon County Sheriff’s Office.
The group told deputies that Strahle pointed the weapon at them, including the children, and entered the roadway while armed. They fled and called police.
Strahle denied pointing the shotgun at anyone or leaving his property while carrying it. Deputies said he admitted to cocking the shotgun but said there was never a round in the chamber.
Deputies said they found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in Strahle's garage, but none of the rounds were chambered. Strahle told them he was startled by the fireworks, considered any loud “boom” a threat and was nervous because his girlfriend’s car was recently burglarized.