Judge: man was 'drunk and stupid'

Henninger will serve 6 months in jail for gun incident

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COEUR d'ALENE - A 32-year-old Coeur d'Alene man will serve six months in Kootenai County jail, with work release privileges, for a shooting incident at Corner Bar in August.

Erik J. Henninger was given a suspended prison sentence of five years on Wednesday, with three of those years fixed. He will be on probation for five years, complete 100 hours of community service and pay fines and restitution.

"If you're going to be drunk and stupid and pull a gun in a bar fight, you can certainly expect to do some time in the county jail," said 1st District Court Senior Judge John Luster.

Henninger had pleaded guilty to aggravated assault, a felony.

Following a fight at the bar, at 1628 N. Fourth St., Henninger shot the tire of an occupied vehicle in the parking lot. After hitting the tire, the bullet ricocheted and struck an innocent bystander in the leg, causing a minor injury.

Henninger also pointed the gun at a man.

The incident was recorded by a surveillance camera.

Henninger told the judge he shot the tire to keep the people from leaving the bar after the fight.

"I wasn't shooting at anyone," Henninger said. "I'm not a threat to society. ... It was incredibly stupid."

Defense attorney Sean Walsh said Henninger was trying to "keep the peace" when he went and got the gun after the fight. Henninger was drunk and should not have retrieved the gun from his vehicle, Walsh said, but Henninger's heart was in the right place.

"He wanted to settle the fight down," Walsh told Luster. "His intention was to hold people in place until the police arrived."

Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Stan Mortensen said Henninger pointed the gun at an innocent man after first shooting the tire.

"(Henninger) takes a very aggressive stance holding this firearm, trained on this male," Mortensen said. "This lasts for several seconds, your honor."

Henninger picked up evidence - a shell casing - and fled the scene, Mortensen said. He later lied to police about what happened.

The prosecutor recommended prison time for Henninger, who Mortensen said poses a threat to the community.

"The defendant escalated this situation to the point where it should never have gotten to, your honor," Mortensen said. "This is not self-defense. This is not defense of others."

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