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Florence man charged with pointing gun at utility workers

HAMILTON – A Florence man is facing charges for pointing a loaded handgun at utility workers trimming trees on his property.

David Louis Trenk, 72, is charged with felony assault with a weapon and misdemeanor assault for the incident that happened on Monday in Florence.

Ravalli County Sheriff deputies responded to Holloway Lane in Florence for a report of utility workers being threatened by someone with a handgun.

The two workers told the sheriff deputy that they were contracted by the power company to trim trees that were interfering with the power line.

The sheriff deputy reported when interviewing the two men, both workers were wearing yellow neon shirts and other clothing indicative of the fact they were utility workers.

Also, a notice was given to property owners in that area that a tree service company would be in the area trimming trees.

The utility workers say they parked the utility truck at the end of the defendant’s driveway and approached his residence on foot.

One of the utility workers told authorities he knocked on Trenk’s front door, basement door and door of a shop and did not receive an answer.

The worker reported since there appeared to be no one on the property, and there was a sign on the roadway about Northwestern Energy access road, he believed it was okay to proceed on the property.

But the homeowner thought differently.

As the utility workers began work on trimming the trees, they were approached by Trenk, who prosecutors say was carrying a handgun.

In court documents, the defendant asked for the reason they were on the property and when they told him he stated something in the effect of “I don’t care who you are, get the f*** off my property!”

The workers said Trenk than raised the handgun and pointed it at their faces.

Authorities also state in court documents that Trenk kicked one of the workers in the back of the legs and continued to point the handgun at him until they were approximately 100 yards away.

The workers says Trenk was holding the handgun in a “shooting position” with his finger on the trigger throughout the entire encounter.

The defendant told authorities the two men should not have been on his property and that he pointed the gun to make them “excited” so they would see he was carrying a gun and they would leave.

The sheriff’s deputy investigating retrieved a Chiappa .17 caliber 10-shot revolver loaded with 10 live cartridges.

Ravalli Justice Judge Jim Bailey sent Trenk’s bond at $10,000.

Story by Melissa Rafferty, MTN News

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