A 25-year-old Racine man was in Racine County Court Tuesday facing new charges from a gun pointing case that happened on Feb. 6 in Union Grove.
Christopher Ebner, was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office with second-degree recklessly endangering safety, use of a dangerous weapon, and disorderly conduct, use of a dangerous weapon.
If convicted of both charges, Ebner faces up to 15 years nine months in prison and/or fines up to $26,000.
Originally Ebner was charged with misdemeanor charges of pointing a firearm at a person, disorderly conduct and use of a dangerous weapon, but those charges were dismissed and the felony charges were issued Tuesday.
Confrontation started over recording
According to the criminal complaint, deputies with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department were called to a report of civil trouble between two men in the 1400 block of 13th Avenue near Hometown Apartments. When they arrived on the scene, Ebner was pointing a black handgun at another man.
The deputy ordered Ebner to drop the gun so that he could arrest him. Before the deputy could put him in handcuffs, Ebner told police that he felt threatened by the man and he wanted the other man to back away from him. Once in handcuffs, the deputy found that Ebener’s 9mm gun was loaded with a live round in the chamber. The magazine also had 17 live rounds of ammunition.
Ebner told police he had stopped at Hometown Apartments with his wife. She called Ebner from the car and said that the man was taking photos of their car. When Ebner returned outside, he saw the man taking photos of other cars. Ebner’s wife drove away, but then she came back.
The two men started talking and the man told Ebner he shouldn’t open carry a gun. Ebner told police that the man approached the vehicle and Ebner told him to get back. That’s when police arrived.
The woman told police she left because her daughter was in the car and she did not want her to see “whatever was going to happen.” She said Ebner has a temper and she didn’t understand why he was screaming at the man since he was not acting aggressively towards Ebner, the complaint reads.
Witnesses recall gun pointing incident differently
Other witnesses characterized the interaction differently. One person told police that Ebner got out of the car and confronted the man, who had his hands to his sides during the argument. But at one point, the witness did take a photo of Ebner pointing the gun at the man.
Another witness told police that the man recorded a video of the car pulling away. That witness also said that the altercation didn’t start until Ebner and his wife came back. She also said the man didn’t approach Ebner until he pointed the gun at him.
A third witness said he heard the man and Ebner arguing, then Ebner pulled out the gun, and he ordered the man to “drop down or back away.” But the man didn’t do anything threatening to Ebner, except for yelling back at him.
Man says couple seemed suspicious
The man told police he was outside smoking a cigarette when he saw Ebner and his wife in the car. They seemed suspicious to him, so he took a video of the car on his phone. When Ebner’s wife left, she made a u-turn and came back. So the man put his phone away. Stopping right in front of him, Ebner came out of the building and got into the car.
The man told police he said nothing to Ebner and his wife, but Ebner shouted at him to stop taking photos of him. Ebner got of the car, started shouting at him and told his wife to call the police. The man said Ebner was “the one shouting with a gun at his side,” the complaint reads.
Pulling out the gun, Ebner pointed it at the man’s head and told him to “get on his knees.” And that’s when the deputy arrived.
Racine County Court Commissioner Peggy Laufenberg set a cash bond of $500 for Ebner. The initial appearance on the new charges was set for 1:30 p.m. March 5 so that Ebner could obtain legal counsel.
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