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Seeing Red: Gun Pulled Over Paint Job

Friday, June 21, 2013

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A Washington State man tracked a city employee to his home and pulled a loaded gun on him after being told to repaint a fire hydrant because it violated city code, police say.

Steven W. Timmons, 54, was arrested Monday (June 17) on suspicion of first-degree assault after confronting the unidentified Water Department employee at his home.

Timmons had recently repainted a peeling yellow municipal fire hydrant in front of his home. The problem: City code requires that fire hydrants be yellow, and Timmons painted the hydrant red.

Steven W. Timmons was arrested on suspicion of assault after taking a loaded handgun to a city worker's house.

The city worker left a note suggesting that Timmons repaint the hydrant yellow and listing several locations where he could buy the paint. The employee was reportedly instructed to leave the note as part of his job.

Backyard Brawl

Timmons reportedly found the note and, while intoxicated, took a loaded handgun and tracked down the worker to his home, police said.

"He became more and more angry and decided he was going to go confront this Water Department employee about the note that was left on his house," Sgt. Scott Boyles told KGW News Channel 8.

They started to argue on the front lawn, and Timmons allegedly pulled out the gun. The worker knocked the weapon away and pinned Timmons to the ground.

Camas fire hydrant fight
KGW / Art Edwards

The city code requires fire hydrants to be painted yellow. A city worker left Timmons a note to repaint the hydrant he had just painted red and listed places to buy the paint.

Witnesses called police to report the fight and reported seeing a gun on the ground. No shots were fired, and no one was seriously injured.

"So I came outside and I heard my neighbor yell, 'Call the cops! This guy's trying to shoot me!'" a neighbor told KGW.

The two were still fighting when police arrived.

A Clark County Judge increased Timmons' bail to $50,000, citing the use of the gun. Timmons is due back in court next week.

According to court documents, Timmons is a longtime safety and security officer at a Portland hospital, KGW reported.


Tagged categories: Building codes; Paint application

Comment from Jane Warren, (6/21/2013, 8:34 AM)

Wouldn't it be the Town's responsibility to paint hydrants belonging to the Water Dept ???

Comment from M. Halliwell, (6/21/2013, 11:28 AM)

Jane, you'd think if it were Town property they should have painted it in the first place. That aside, I know of examples where the hydrants can be private (though not typically as a permanent situation...)

Comment from Regina Montgomery, (6/21/2013, 11:38 AM)

Just a comment on the colour aspect of this story: In the US and some Canadian municipalities “colour-coding hydrants warns the fire department that sufficient water flow may not be available.” Municipalities that practice the colour-coding system follow the U.S. National Fire Protection Association’s standards. The bonnet and nozzle caps of hydrants are painted a specific colour to indicate water flow as follows: ¦Blue – flow greater than 95 litres/second ¦Green – flow of 63 to 95 L/s ¦Orange – flow of 31 to 63 L/s ¦Red – flow less than 31 L/s Likely the source of the original kerfuffle was more than an issue of colour preferences...

Comment from Dudley Primeaux, (6/22/2013, 8:11 AM)

I find this article interesting, though I am somewhat perplexed. Fully realizing that this is in the "Off The Wall" section, I wonder if the article would have published had the title been: "Seeing Red: Hammer Pulled Over Paint Job"? I mean hammers do kill more people here in the US per year than do handguns... Perhaps the next "off the wall" article like this should be one where a paint & coating contractor thwarted a robbery / assault using his legal concealed carry handgun. Oh wait, real stories like that don't make the news.

Comment from Joseph Smith, (6/24/2013, 10:46 AM)

I find it interesting in what everyone is focusing on with this story. Who cares if it is Water Dept. or Town property. Who cares what color code is in use here. The fact is that people are becoming more and more aggressive and violent in today's world. To have some guy go off because of a color change, there is some underlying pent up aggression there. As a Bridge Paint Supv. we have had to deal with the public for years when lane closures are put in. I have seen little old ladies (some one's grandma) throw articles, from fruit to bottles, from their cars at us as they passed our operation. Of course there was/is the constant barrage of obscenities and gestures directed our way. I have been chased with vehicles diving into the closures. I have seen driver versus driver road rage because someone merged in front of another driver and that few seconds of delay set them off. Being a public employee in today's environment has become a dangerous profession, in part, due to negative press about civil employees, (I acknowledge that there are public employees that warrant such press and that just taints the majority that are hard working and care about their work) and the fact that people just hate to be inconvenienced even if in the long run the public benifits.

Comment from Car F., (6/24/2013, 11:48 AM)

Dudley Primeaux: glad that you've mentioned the heading. In this case was not a hammer, it was a gun carried by one of the abundant gun-totting nut cases who feel justified to terrorize people, specially public servants, in the name of some fictitious and messianic entitlement, drilled to exaustion into an alienated population by irresponsible media conglomerates and ruthless and opportunist politicians, that is all, not very complicated, really

Comment from S Wolfe, (6/25/2013, 9:29 AM)

Mr. Primeaux's assertion that "hammers do kill more people here in the US per year than do handguns" is an oft-repeated and factually incorrect right-wing meme which the facts do not support:

Comment from Joseph Smith, (6/25/2013, 10:23 AM)

Yeah, what Carl F. said

Comment from Andrew Piedl, (6/25/2013, 10:53 AM)

The statistics about hammers is untrue - this 'statistical' information has been tainted by the National Hammer Association to hide the fact that hammers are the real menace in our society. The NHA is actually working closely with the hammer makers to keep this information from the public's knowledge. Why, just over the weekend in my hometown, there were 10 incidents involving hammer fights, four that resulted in fatalities. In one of these, police found themselves out hammered by a gang of drug dealers that were armed with automatic hammers. More and more, my neighbors and myself live in fear of being held up by one of these young kids - held up at hammer point. Or worse, being caught in the cross fire of some hammer fight.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (6/25/2013, 8:42 PM)

S Wolfe, Snopes is not a very reliable source for statistics. The DOJ keeps pretty accurate statistics and both hammers and knives are used more frequently than hand guns, but the #1 source of homocides are medical errors, accounting for something over 100,000 deaths per year. I have to agree with Dudley that if the headline were someone pulled a knife it probably would not have been published. When it comes to crime with firearms, it has been going down every year for well over a decade now (So the DOJ statistics say). People are angrier it seems, but I believe it is due to the fact government has been more and more intrusive into our lives. Government seems to think it can resolve every situation with another law or regulation. You can only push and shove a person just so many times and sooner or later he is going to shove back...and I feel that is what we are seeing.

Comment from John Fauth, (6/26/2013, 8:29 AM)

Hammers, guns, automobiles... even little old ladies with fruit and bottles... the issue is we have tightly wound people who respond with violence when frustrated or "provoked". Add alcohol or drugs, and the problem is compounded. Since no one can really address the underlying problem, guns and hammers... even fruit... become the topic of debate. Good luck with that.

Comment from Car F., (6/26/2013, 11:01 AM)

Andrew Piedl: love your letter, good points, love the irony

Comment from William Gusnard, (6/27/2013, 8:13 AM)

I have a question on this. I disagree with the violence issue on the whole thing but it still goes back to - WHY had the local water department not kept the fire hydrant painted? Where I live, it is the responsibility for the local municipality fire department to keep the hydrants painted. My town's firedepartment is out constantly painting the hydrants and keeping them all looking good. Maybe this county employee thought that it was beneath him to paint a fire hydrant and it was not in his job scope so he would not do it and the county did not want to hire a paint contractor to do it because of the money costs. I am a paint expert and if you look at coating data sheets, there is a maintenance proceedure to be followed for the warranty to be in affect. I have over 35 facilities under my juridiction and maintenance is always a concern when dealing paint.

Comment from Mike McCloud, (6/28/2013, 8:20 AM)

Is it safer now than it was 150 years ago in the wild wild west?

Comment from Peter Rushen, (7/2/2013, 2:41 AM)

Hey Dudley Primeaux, I challenge your assumption. 30,000+ people a year are killed by people wielding guns every year. If more than that are killed by hammers i will eat a gun.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (7/3/2013, 9:15 AM)

Mr Rushen, that statement, as made, is not entirely true. Of that 30,000 over 75% are suicides. Therefore something less than 7,500 are killed by people wielding guns. Yes, there are some bad evil people and there always will be. Actually, there are quite a few of these bad evil people attacking others, which is why there are over 2 million incidences annually of people defending themselves with firearms.

Comment from Tim Race, (7/3/2013, 10:31 AM)

Minimizing gun violence by citing knife and hammer attack statistics is akin to minimizing the dangers of smoking by citing traffic death and drowning statistics.

Comment from Peter Rushen, (7/3/2013, 7:34 PM)

Thanks for your input Mr Johnson, however despite your observation my statement remains true. Those suicides were firearm deaths. To ignore them is to ignore 75% of the problem.

Comment from John Fauth, (7/8/2013, 8:33 AM)

Peter, is it your contention those suicides would not have taken place if a gun were not present? Poison is the leading manner of death for female suicides... do you support additional poison restrictions, registrations, etc?

Comment from josh hutcheson, (7/8/2013, 8:37 AM)

you cant fix stupid stupid the city for not keeping up with maint. stupid pulling a gun over a paint job stupid the reporter for thinking this is news ya just cant fix stupid oh wait why dont someone try thinking first and then act

Comment from Car F., (7/11/2013, 11:54 AM)

Thanks for all your opinions….this interesting exchange of views is revealing of how quickly gun-toting-ideology can take over common sense and respect for life. A violent society resorting to war instead of diplomacy in the name of some messianic acquired right can only produce individuals who feels encouraged to imitate the larger violence exerted in larger scale by its own government. When a father abuses his wife, the children will imitate that abuse in their own homes, be it a gun, hammer, fists or anything else.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (7/12/2013, 1:19 PM)

How quickly gun toting ideology can take over common sense and respect for life? That is quite an inaccurate and bigoted assumption which shows how uneducated some people are. I, as well as about 80% of the people I know, have carried a firearm almost every day, yet neither myself nor anyone I know has ever injured or killed anyone. I do know of numerous situations where armed individuals have stopped assaults, rapes, robberies and thefts. Personally I hope to God I never have to injure or kill anyone with my firearm, but I am prepared to protect myself and others because when an emergency occurs and help is needed within seconds the cops are only minutes away. If you want to see the result of a disarmed community just look at Chicago. Highest murder rate in the country and I read last week they had over 70 people shot with 12 fatalities. An armed person is a citizen, an unarmed citizen is a subject. If you doubt that just ask any Cuban. I believe much of the violence in our society is due to a lack of God in our lives. Government and the courts have done everything they could to remove God from our schools and public places and have urged society to remove God from their lives. We have more unwed mothers than ever, we have more single parent families than ever and we have more abortions than ever - All not only condoned by our government, but openly supported, particularly by the current administration.

Comment from John Fauth, (7/15/2013, 8:38 AM)

People with agendas continue to make this about guns. It's about alcohol and violence. In this instance, a gun was handy. But as many have noted previously, a hammer, stick or fists would have been adequate substitution. Trying to fashion this into a political argument is why people end up talking past one another.

Comment from Jim Johnson, (7/16/2013, 1:41 PM)

John I agree with you. The problem began with the article title saying "Gun Pulled...." and not "Drunk Assaults..." As I stated previously I believe the violence stems from over regulation and the law constantly restricting people more and more, so they become frustrated more and more. I am fortunate enough to live in a locale where there is very little regulation and there is no problem with violence at all. There is no zoning, there are no building permits required and you will only see a cop once every couple of weeks. People here look after each other, watch over the property of their neighbors and are careful not to do anything that has a negative affect on others. Violence is virtually unheard of and people's frustration levels are pretty low. Were you to saddle these same people with the rules and regulations imposed in most places I am sure their frustration and violence levels would equal that of most places today. Actually, after living in relative freedom their frustration would be even worse! Government seems to think they can cure any problem with another regulation while I feel most problems could be cured by being considerate of others and going to church once in a while and saying Thanks for what we have instead of conniving to get more, but those are just the thoughts of a gun toting christian.

Comment from Jerry Trevino, (12/31/2013, 11:10 AM)

I bet this guy was a CEO of a company. He was too greedy Not to share the drugs and alcohol or whatever induced him to get violent. Maybe he was required to have submitted paint specs, msds, environmental impact studies, bypassed the union hall, was attempting to stay under the 50 employees, did not submit a complete safety program, did not have the proper license, did not submit testing for the peeling paint, did not send the proper taxing documents to the federal, state, and local governments. There are probable working families now starving because he did the painting himself vs hiring a crew to paint this hydrant. Shame on this CEO.

Comment from Burt Olhiser, (12/31/2013, 12:02 PM)

It sounds like Mr. Timmons is getting to reap the benefits of booze and a hot temper, a $50,000 bail -- ouch.

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