Judge rejects self-defense argument by man accused of shooting teen during fireworks fight; jury trial will proceed

photo by: Chris Conde

The Douglas County Judicial and Law Enforcement Center is pictured in September 2018.

A man who found himself in a Roman candle war and fired back with a gun, hitting a 17-year-old, is not getting off the hook under Kansas’ stand-your-ground law.

The man’s attorney had argued that he fired in defense of himself and his home, both of which were hit by Roman candles.

However, a judge found that his use of force wasn’t justified and ordered him to stand trial on a criminal charge, the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office said this week.

A jury trial for Rashan A. Gill, 20, of Lawrence, remains scheduled to begin Jan. 14, according to Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to the DA. Gill is charged with one count of criminal discharge of a firearm, a felony.

The shooting happened shortly before 12:50 a.m. July 5 at The Reserve on West 31st, in the 2500 block of West 31st Street.

The shooting victim told police she went to the apartment complex with friends but stayed in the car — lying down in the backseat — while the others got out and fired Roman candles. After her friends got back in the car and started driving away, she heard a loud noise, felt pain in her torso and realized she’d been shot.

Through interviews with the friends, neighbors and the complex manager, police identified the shooter as Gill.

He lived in the building the victim’s friends were shooting fireworks at, and he came outside to tell them to stop more than once, according to filings by attorneys after a preliminary hearing in the case. Then, with his gun in hand, he chased after their car. After one of the occupants shot a Roman candle that hit him in the chest, Gill fired at the car.

The friends drove the victim to the hospital, and police discovered a bullet hole that went through the trunk of the car into the backseat. Her injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

Gill remains jailed on $50,000 bond.

Related story

Affidavit: Neighbor shot teen at Lawrence apartment complex amid Roman candle war; he says shooting was self-defense

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd

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