Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Feud leads to alleged shotgun threat

County employee charged with aggravated assault


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Michael R. Shipp

A Blaine County employee was arrested early Sunday morning after he allegedly threatened his ex-wife's boyfriend with a loaded shotgun.

Forty-two-year-old Michael Robert Shipp, a nine-year Road and Bridge employee, was formally charged Monday in Blaine County Magistrate Court with felony aggravated assault. Shipp was also arraigned for misdemeanor DUI.

He was released later Monday from the Blaine County jail after posting $5,000 bond. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 12.

Shipp is accused of pointing a 12-gauge shotgun at 51-year-old Bradford William Dredge, an Idaho Department of Fish and Game employee, at Dredge's residence on Hayspur Lane about six miles west of Timmerman Junction.

Dredge told the Idaho Mountain Express on Tuesday that he has been dating Shipp's ex-wife for more than a year and that she currently lives with him. According to Blaine County court records, Shipp and the woman were divorced in 2007.

Dredge said he has been harassed several times by Shipp prior to last weekend's alleged confrontation.

"I've filed three complaints for telephone harassment with the Blaine County Sheriff's Office, and this incident happened down here," Dredge said. "That was scary for me."

A probable-cause affidavit filed by Blaine County Sheriff's Deputy Jamie Shaw refers to "many documented problems" between Shipp and Dredge.

Shaw wrote in his report that officers were dispatched to Dredge's residence following a 911 call from Dredge at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday. Dredge reported that he saw a pickup driving and stopping near his home, didn't know who it was and went outside to investigate.

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Dredge said that when he got to the pickup, he saw a shotgun barrel pointed out the passenger side window. Dredge said he pushed the gun back inside the vehicle, went back into his home and called police.

Shaw reported that Shipp tried to drive off after the incident but was found with his vehicle stuck in snow when officers arrived. Shaw wrote that Shipp failed field sobriety tests and was arrested. A loaded shotgun was found later in the back of his vehicle.

Shipp denied Tuesday that he threatened Dredge with the weapon.

"It's his word over mine," Shipp said in an interview.

Shipp said he had been in Wyoming earlier in the day and drove by Dredge's residence looking for one of his sons with the intention of letting him know that he was back in Idaho.

He said Dredge came out and started the altercation.

"He reached into my vehicle and verbally assaulted me," Shipp said. "This guy has assaulted me before. He's gotten physical with me at the Silver Dollar [Saloon] twice and was escorted out.

"I have nothing against him dating my ex-wife," Shipp said. "I had no intention of anything at all with this guy that night."

Shipp said he was suspended from county employment Tuesday.

"They suspended me with pay until Thursday," he said. "If I don't show up Thursday for [an employment] hearing, then I'm done."

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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