Trevor Bennion said he was sitting inside the Roadhouse Saloon in Idaho Falls on Tuesday night when Martin Knowles walked by and kicked his boot cast.
A falling steel beam had broken his ankle, so Bennion understandably didn't much like getting kicked and told Knowles he'd fight him if it happened again, the Post Register reported.
The bartender promptly kicked Knowles out of the saloon, the paper reported, citing court records, and told him not to come back.
But Knowles, 58, came back less than an hour later — armed with an AM-15 .223-caliber rifle and a .40-caliber pistol, the paper said.
“He flung the door open and jacked in a shell and started pointing this rifle at my buddy’s wife and then swung it at another friend,” Michael Martinez, a friend of Bennion, told the Post Register.
Police reviewed the Saloon surveillance video, which reportedly shows Knowles pointing the rifle at patrons, the paper said.
Bennion had a “fight-or-flight” response, he told the Post Register, grabbing a beer mug and chucking it at Knowles. Bennion said that allowed him time to rush Knowles and disarm him.
“He was distracted long enough that he didn’t get a round off, thank God,” Bennion told the paper.
It was all over for Knowles at that point, as other patrons began punching him.
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Police arrived shortly after and found Knowles lying near the front door of the bar with blood all over his face. Court records show Knowles was taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, where he received six stitches and was diagnosed with a broken nose.
Responding officers wrote in their reports that the crowd at the bar was screaming and several people were being held back from further attacking Knowles. Officers got Knowles away from the crowd so he could be treated for his injuries. He later told officers he had been drinking and left after the confrontation with Bennion. He told officers when he returned he never pointed the gun at the patrons, contrary to video evidence. Knowles told officers he didn’t think he stepped on Bennion’s foot.
Knowles also told police he came back to the saloon to talk to Bennion and armed himself for protection, the paper said, adding that court records indicate the handgun had a round in the chamber.
Bennion told the Post Register he's glad no one was shot: "I mean I’ve got a 3-year-old little girl and a wife, and I’d hate to leave them and be shot over some drunk idiot.”
He toldo the paper that police didn't confront him or his friends about punching Knowles.
“You know, cops can get a bad rap," Bennion told the Post Register, "but they were really good and handled the business last night very professionally."
Knowles is charged with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon by a convicted felon and an enhancement for use of a deadly weapon in the commission of a felony, the paper said, adding that he faces up to 15 years in prison over the charges.
Knowles was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2002, the Post Register reported, adding that court records indicate the conviction barred him from owning a firearm.