A man accused of shooting an AR-15 into the air near a woman walking a dog allegedly did so because he mistook her for a clown.
Police in Bardstown, Kentucky, say Adam Tingle’s wife told him she saw a clown outside, and he yelled at the person in question, The Kentucky Standard reported Saturday. When the person didn’t react, he allegedly fired one shot into the air to scare them off, and his wife called 911.
Apparently, the “clown” was actually a woman walking her dog. Tingle was charged with second-degree wanton endangerment.
Of course, this raises the question of why someone’s reaction to seeing a clown would be shooting at them. Cops say Tingle told them he was scared because of recent criminal activity involving clowns.
Tingle was referring to a bizarre series of so-called “creepy clown” incidents that have been reported throughout the United States over the past few weeks, beginning with a little boy in Greenville, South Carolina, who told his mother that two clowns were trying to lure him into the woods.
Since then, reports of clown incidents — from simply spotting creepy-looking clowns to reports of physical violence — have exploded across the United States. Many of the reports have turned up no physical evidence, and some have proven to be outright hoaxes — like when an Ohio teenager was late for work and allegedly made up a story about a clown attacking her as an excuse.
The media-fueled frenzy has led to increased fear of anyone who may appear to be dressed as a clown. In Tingle’s state of Kentucky, a man was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after allegedly dressing in a clown costume and walking in a wooded area near some apartments in the middle of the night. And in New Haven, Connecticut, public schools have banned clown costumes for Halloween under the premise that the outfits would be “threatening” given the nation’s current coulrophobic vibe.
Some law enforcement officials now fear that anti-clown hysteria will start making people violent. Utah’s Orem Police Department felt the need to clarify in a Facebook post on Monday that citizens do not have the right to shoot or “take action against” someone dressed as a clown. The department noted that they had fielded “a few dozen” calls about clowns that day.