GARDNERVILLE - A deputy's intuition about a shooting suspect's mindset led to the arrest of a California man outside a bar Tuesday.
Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Lance Modispacher said Chad Thomas Ricci, 36, of Vista, Calif. was being held for investigation of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony, following a dispute in the Gardnerville Ranchos that was punctuated by a gun shot.
Ricci is suspected of firing a .22-caliber handgun in the direction of the victim, a 49-year-old Kingston Lane resident whose name was not disclosed. The slug struck the ground and the man was not injured.
The incident was reported shortly before 1 p.m. Modispacher said investigators think the conflict started as a landlord-tenant dispute. The victim, who lives at the house, was standing on the lawn when the suspect, whose mother reportedly owns the house, fired from the vehicle, he said.
"Who knows what he was shooting at," said Modispacher. "He may have been shooting just to scare him."
Ricci was located 15 minutes later at a bar near the intersection of Tillman Lane and Kimmerling Road by Chief Deputy Bob Rudnick, who heard the call while he was returning from lunch.
"(Rudnick) said if he had shot at anybody, he figured he'd need a drink, so he checked the bars," said Modispacher. "Lo and behold, he found the car right outside one of the bars."
Ricci was taken into custody without incident and was cooperating with investigators, Modispacher said. Bail was set at $25,000.
"He knew what he had done and why the cops were there," said Modispacher.
Investigators found a shell casing and an unloaded .22 caliber, semi-automatic handgun in Ricci's vehicle.
Modispacher said a neighbor witnessed the incident. The men were reportedly arguing before the shot was fired. The victim dialed 911 and reported the incident, he said.