Huntsville Man Confronts Another Man at Skate Park
Kevin Weil felt his two young sons needed to burn off some energy following a Sunday afternoon birthday party, so they drove downtown to the Lydia Gold Skatepark.
The city-owned skateboard park on Cleveland Avenue is a favorite hangout for the Weil family, but this visit proved more memorable than all the rest.
Another man was taking what Weil said were "lewd" pictures of two scantily-clad women lying on the graffiti-covered concrete. Weil, 38, said he asked the man if he thought the pictures were appropriate considering the park was filled with kids.
The question led to an argument that quickly spun out of control. During a Tuesday interview with AL.com, here's what Weil said happened next:
The man with the camera became irate and fetched a large handgun - possibly a TEC-9 semi-automatic - from his sport utility vehicle. It was just before 8 p.m.
"He walked straight toward everybody and said, 'I will kill everyone here,'" said Weil. "He swept (the gun) across everyone, including the girls who were with him. Everyone was terrified."
Most people, including Weil's 9-year-old son, took off running toward the nearby Historic Huntsville Depot. Weil told his 6-year-old to take cover in a dry pool used for skateboard tricks.
And then Weil, armed with only a pocket knife, did something remarkable: he began walking toward the man, repeatedly ordering him to drop his gun and surrender.
"I was the only adult there," he said. "I feared for my children's lives, and the lives of the other children there. I was just a parent doing what a parent does."
As Weil moved toward him, the armed man slowly backed up - all the way into the gravel parking lot. But Weil said the man kept shouting, kept the gun trained on his chest.
At this point, both men were near their vehicles. Weil grabbed his .40-caliber Glock handgun from a secret trunk compartment. Again, he ordered the man to drop his weapon and get on the ground. He also yelled for someone to call Huntsville police.
"At no point did he ever drop the weapon or put his hands up to surrender," said Weil. "He made it much harder than it had to be."
Weil said the man ducked behind his SUV, a maroon Ford Excursion with tinted windows. Unable to see what was happening, Weil said he shot out the windows and then approached the man's vehicle.
"He's still not presenting his hands or weapon," said Weil, "so I shot down and low."
Weil said one round struck the man below the waist, possibly in the buttocks. He said the man, still holding the semi-automatic pistol, hopped into another car with the girls he had been photographing. The girls jumped out; the man tried to put the car in gear.
Weil said he shot out the tires to prevent the man from escaping.
"I didn't want to kill this guy, but he was not listening," said Weil, who aspires to a military career. "Finally, he surrenders and shows me his hands."
Weil said the first police officers to arrive at the skate park were calm and professional. He placed his gun on the sidewalk and put his hands in the air. As he was being handcuffed, he told the officer that his 6-year-old was hiding in the skate park pool.
"And I told him that I had shot a man, he's in that truck over there and has a very large gun," said Weil.
Weil said he was taken to the Huntsville Police Department South Precinct for questioning before being released late Sunday night. The other man - who police have yet to identify - was taken to the hospital and treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
No charges have been filed, and police spokesman Harry Hobbs said Tuesday afternoon that the shooting remains under investigation.
Weil said he does not anticipate being charged. "I think it's a pretty clear-cut case of self-defense," he said.
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