A man shot an AR-15 rifle into the air after two groups of people clashed while cruising on the Milton Avenue circuit Saturday night and early Sunday morning, according to a criminal complaint.
Jamie L. Blair, 18, of 315 Eighth St., Delavan, was charged Monday with first-degree recklessly endangering safety.
In Rock County Court on Monday, Blair was released on a signature bond and ordered not to cruise the circuit.
Blair was arrested on Highway 11 at Cobblestone Road near Delavan at 3:54 a.m. Sunday, according to the criminal complaint.
Janesville police had arrested a 16-year-old boy and an 18-year-old man at about 11:25 p.m. Saturday in connection with vandalism to a vehicle in the 2900 block of Milton Avenue, according to reports.
The driver of the damaged SUV told police people in another car were throwing things out of a window at other vehicles for no apparent reason, and then one of them reached out of the car and punched his side mirror.
The 18-year-old, who was arrested on charges of criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct, admitted punching the mirror and he did it in an attempt to escape cars that repeatedly boxed him in.
The 16-year-old’s parents asked police to release him to Blair, who was also on the circuit that night and was friends with the other teens, according to the criminal complaint and police.
Stories vary as to what happened next, but a blue SUV in which Blair was riding encountered the damaged SUV, and one pursued the other on highways and rural roads until the shots were fired at Harmony Town Hall Road and Wilcox Road on the northeast side of the city.
Those in the damaged SUV pursued the blue SUV to get a license number and report it, which they eventually did, leading to the arrest near Delavan by Walworth County sheriff’s deputies, according to the complaint.
Rock County deputies investigated the incident because Janesville police were busy with other gunfire incidents. Blair told them he knew firing the weapon was a stupid decision, but he wanted to scare the other vehicle away, and he shot into the air.
They put the rifle on safe and placed it into the cargo area after he fired it, he said.
The driver of the blue SUV, who was not charged, told investigators that he had bought the AR-15 shortly after Christmas. He also owned a shotgun that was found in the vehicle, which he said he had owned since he was 13.
The driver and Blair had been shooting the weapons earlier in the day at the 16-year-old’s house, the driver said.