A Three Forks man accused of shooting a firearm at another man and his family on Thursday was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court Friday morning.
Aydan J. Sterling, 21, was charged with felony assault with a weapon and faces a $30,000 bond.
According to charging documents, Sterling was reportedly in a physical altercation at a residence on Pole Gulch Road with another man when the man’s wife called law enforcement to report an assault at approximately 5:30 p.m.
A deputy from Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office and an officer from Manhattan Police Department responded to the call and learned that Sterling had allegedly shot at the man from his truck as he was backing away from the location on Pole Gulch Road. The victim told the deputy that he had flattened one of the tires on Sterling’s truck. The deputy then followed the tracks of the truck and located and arrested Sterling, who was changing his tire.
With Sterling’s permission, the deputy secured a .357 revolver from his truck – the gun had one spent round and two live rounds. The other three cylinders shots were vacant, according to court documents.
When questioned, Sterling reportedly denied shooting the gun from the vehicle but stated the other man had shot out his tire and would not let him leave the property. The deputy reported that the tire on Sterling’s truck was flat and a bullet hole was present in the rim.
When interviewed by the deputy, the victim said that Sterling was unwelcome on the property and would not leave. He escorted Sterling from the property when Sterling reportedly threatened his family then assaulted him by tackling him to the ground. The pair scuffled until the man broke free and got his rifle, an AR-15, which he used to shoot Sterling’s tire to keep him in place until law enforcement arrived. The man told the deputy that Sterling then got in his truck, backed approximately 100 yards up the road, stopped, leaned out the window with a pistol and shot at him and his family.
The man’s wife told the deputy that she and their 1-year-old son were on the porch and they both hid inside when she heard a shot ring out from Sterling’s vehicle.
Sterling was also ordered to wear a GPS monitoring unit if released on bail. Sterling told the judge in court that he couldn’t afford bail and expressed concern that he would lose his job if he cannot get out of jail.
Sterling’s next court appearance is set for July 13, 2018. If convicted, he faces maximum time of 20 years in jail.
Additional reporting by Mallory Peebles and Ken Spencer