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Juneau man charged with firing gun in Sitka bar

Posted: September 4, 2013 - 11:14pm

SITKA — A Juneau commercial fisherman is accused of hitting another man, brandishing a handgun and firing a shot in a Sitka bar restroom.

Richard Davis, 55, was charged with felony assault after the incident Sunday afternoon at the busy Pioneer Bar.

Tyler Westlund, 22, of Port Townsend, Wash., a deckhand on Davis’ boat, was charged with felony evidence tampering. Police say he left the bar with a gun used in the assault.

Davis and Westlund remained jailed Wednesday at the Sitka Police Department.

Davis is a board member of the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association and is active in the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association, the Sitka Sentinel reported.

Witnesses told police that Davis followed Keith Widmyer into the men’s restroom at about 4 p.m. Sunday and started a fight.

Widmyer told police that he and Davis have had a long-standing feud. Widmyer said he was at a urinal when Davis hit him in the face without warning. The men fought and fell to the floor. Davis pulled a pistol from his waistband, Widmyer said, and Widmyer fled. He heard a gunshot as the escaped from the room.

Bartender Rita Ledbetter heard the shot as she called 911.

Police say Davis fired the shot and gave the gun to Westlund. Witnesses told police Westlund ran from the bar afterward.

Police found a bullet hole in the vinyl covering of the restroom’s concrete floor and recovered a bullet. No shell casing was found, said police Lt. Barry Allen.

Davis denied firing a gun but told police he had set off a seal bomb in the restroom. Fishermen use seal bombs to haze seals and other marine mammals. Their sale is regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Police said they found no evidence that a seal bomb had been discharged.

Davis told police they could find Westlund aboard his boat, the West Bank, in the harbor across the street from the bar. Westlund denied any knowledge of a gun, police said. Officers obtained a warrant to search the boat and a dive team searched the water but found no gun.

Davis was charged with felony and misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor weapons misconduct.

Magistrate Leonard Devaney set a bail hearing for 1 p.m. Friday.

An attorney listed for Davis and Westlund in the court database, Bruce Weyhrauch, was not immediately available by phone Wednesday.

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