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Police: Clarion Man Attempts to Stab Neighbor, Shoots Another Man With Pellet Rifle
According to court documents, the Clarion Borough Police Department filed criminal charges against 29-year-old Joel Lee Best Jr. on Wednesday, May 20, in Magisterial District Judge Duane L. Quinn’s office.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred in Clarion Borough on Tuesday, May 19.
According to a criminal complaint, around 7:53 p.m. on May 19, Clarion Borough Police were dispatched to a residence on Elss Street for a report of an unwanted male at the residence shooting at the apartment with a BB gun.
While police were en route, they were informed the man had also allegedly pulled a knife on someone at the residence.
Police arrived at the scene and discovered the man, identified as Joel Best, was no longer at the scene. Police then spoke to approximately eight people, including the residents of the apartment and their guests.
The residents showed police a large rock that Best reportedly threw against the house, which was lying on the porch by a wet spot where he spilled a can of alcohol. One of the individuals retrieved the can, which was a can of Steel Reserve 8 percent alcohol. It was reported that Best came to the residence drunk and offered one woman “pills,” then became aggressive when he was asked to leave.
The victims/witnesses reported Best pulled a knife with a four to five-inch blade on one man and attempted to stab him in the throat, then he left the residence and returned with a pellet rifle, which he allegedly shot at the residence several times. He also allegedly pounded on a door to the residence and smashed his arm through plywood over a window. They reported he also shot one man in the arm with the pellet rifle, the complaint indicates.
The victims also reported that Best threatened to get more guns and kill them, the complaint state.
There were children in the residence who were frightened and were crying and screaming during the incident, the complaint notes.
Police then proceeded to Best’s residence, which the complaint notes is near the victims’ residence.
According to the complaint, as police approached, Best walked toward them with his hands in the air. He was then told to stop and drop whatever was in his hands and dropped a cell phone, a bag of pills later identified as prescription Gabapentin, a small container with 12 pellets inside, and a Bic lighter.
When asked where the pellet rifle and knife were, he reportedly stated they were in his apartment and gave police permission to retrieve them. He stated that he didn’t know exactly where the knife was, and police were unable to locate it, the complaint states.
Best had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and admitted to drinking, according to the complaint.
He was placed in handcuffs, and police noted he had several lacerations on his hand. He was then searched, but no other weapons were found.
EMS were then called to the scene to check on Best’s injuries.
Police then spoke to Best’s fiancé, who reported Best had been upset and had been drinking. She reported Best told her he had fired the pellet rifle into the air. When asked where the rifle was, she pointed out where it was propped up in the living room, and it was then taken as evidence. However, when asked about the knife, she stated she didn’t know where it was, the complaint states.
When questioned, Best stated he “did do some stupid things,” and said he fired a pellet round into the apartment window “as a warning shot,” according to the complaint.
Best was arraigned in front of Judge Quinn at 2:50 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20, on the following charges:
– Aggravated Assault – Attempts to cause Serious Bodily Injury or causes injury with extreme indifference, Felony 1 (three counts)
– Burglary – Overnight Accommodations; Person Present, Bodily Injury Crime, Felony 1
– Criminal Trespass-Break into Structure, Felony 2
– Corruption of Minors, Misdemeanor 1
– Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 2 (three counts)
– Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2 (three counts)
– Harassment – Subject Other to Physical Contact, Summary (three counts)
– Use of air rifles, bow and arrows, or similar devices regulated, Summary
– Criminal Mischief – Damage Property, Summary
– Public Drunkenness And Similar Misconduct, Summary
Unable to post $25,000.00 monetary bail, he was lodged in the Clarion County Jail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, with Judge Quinn presiding.
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