Local News

Tuesday, Jul 10 2012 06:01 PM

Blind shooter gives his side of shooting incident

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    By Jason Kotowski / The Californian

    Richard Graves talks in the downtown jail about the circumstances that led him to shoot another man early Monday. Graves, who is blind, is being held on $100,000 bail.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Richard Graves said he was leaving his home with his girlfriend early Monday when he heard someone say something about a knife and he got the impression the person was lunging at him.

Graves said he grabbed a gun and opened fire. He hit the man despite never actually seeing him.

Graves is legally blind in both eyes.

"When I feel threatened I just lose it," Graves said Tuesday from the downtown jail, where he's being held on $100,000 bail on suspicion of assault with a gun.

The 33-year-old Graves said he's been blind for the past seven years after injuring both eyes while cutting a piece of steel from a truck. He can see shadows and make out some movements.

Sheriff's deputies, who have had several run-ins with Graves, confirmed he is in fact blind.

Deputies responded to the 500 block of Woodrow Avenue shortly after midnight Monday regarding the shooting. Deputies reported Graves shot the victim and ran from the apartment after an argument.

The victim suffered non-lifethreatening injuries, deputies said.

Graves said Tuesday that he didn't run. He said he sat with his girlfriend and they held each other while waiting for deputies to arrive.

And the shooting was in self-defense, Graves said.

"I was scared for my life, I truly was," he said.

According to Graves, he and his girlfriend were heading out to a casino when a former roommate tried to force his way into their home. He said the man said something about a knife or a razor and he fired in the direction of the man's voice.

He said he cried after it happened, and he didn't think of the possibility that he could have hit an innocent person.

"There was no time to think, boss," Graves said.

He also said the gun's not his, he found it in a hallway closet. He said there are other people who live with him other than his girlfriend.

Despite previous drug and spousal abuse convictions, Graves said he's not a troublemaker. It just seems to find him, he said.

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