continued During the Halloween weekend, more fence line was cut, and as the big New Year’s weekend approached, Inn used earthmoving equipment to build tall earthen berms in certain spots on the perimeter of his property. He placed telephone poles along the tops and the edges of the berms. Off-roaders often follow sandy washes for long distances. One wash that led onto Inn’s property seemed to be the route vandals and thieves were taking. Inn built a berm in the wash to block this route. He nailed a No Trespassing sign onto the post by the trail.
Inn decided to maintain a watch during the weekend from a high spot roughly in the center of his land.
“With the binoculars I observed all directions where I could see,” Inn says. “Before I left I saw a dust cloud generated by off-roaders riding up to the location of the berm and turning back. I was happy to see that.”
On Friday morning, December 29, Inn says he watched the berm for over half an hour. “In that period of time I saw dust clouds approaching the berm and turning back several times.” Inn left to run errands. “When I returned late in the afternoon, right before sunset, I went up to the lot again to see what kind of activity was going on. Again I observed dust clouds arriving and turning back at the location of the berm. Therefore, my berm was still intact by sunset on Friday the 29th. I did not hear any riders that night anywhere on my site.”
The next day, December 30, Inn surveyed his property at about 9:00 a.m. “It was quiet everywhere except at the location of the berm. There I saw some activity that was creating low-density dust clouds. I watched the area maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Eventually I saw a motorbiker pop up from the wash onto my side of the property. I realized at that moment they had just breached the berm again.
“I got into my truck,” Inn says, “and tried to get to the location as fast as I could. As I was riding down I was determined to make a citizen’s arrest this time if I could.”
Inn parked his truck, grabbed his loaded .357 revolver, and ran toward a biker who was trying desperately to kick-start his stalled motorcycle. Inn could see two other bikers about 280 feet away, waiting for their stranded friend.
“I ran first down into the wash and then up to his location on the south of the wash and told him to stop and that I was placing him under arrest for trespassing. He did not obey and kept on pumping his pedal to start his bike. Pointing the gun at him, I repeated several more times. He did not stop but said that he was just trying to get back up the hill. Which was a lie.
“I glanced at the berm about 110 feet to my northeast and saw only the heavy end of the post sticking up at the north end of the berm. The rest of the post was not visible.” Someone had pushed over the telephone pole. “I told him he was a liar and that they had just breached my berm again after my numerous times of repair. I don’t think he thought I was serious, because he kept on pumping the pedal to start the bike.”
Inn says the man on the bike, Matt Walker, continued trying to kick-start his bike despite Inn’s repeated requests to submit to a citizen’s arrest.
“Finally I reached down to the front of the front tire and took a shot at the tire. I wanted to make sure I did not hit the rim” to avoid a ricochet. “Doing so, I missed the tire. I tried again to give him a flat tire and missed again. This time he stopped and got off the bike but was still holding on to it. I told him to let the bike down. He did and immediately removed his helmet. When he removed his helmet, I realized he was exhausted. I was afraid he was going to have a heart attack.
“I told him to take it easy and called his friends to come down and help their friend. I told them he might be having a heart attack. One of the men told me to put my gun away before they came down. I immediately tucked the gun away under my belt and told them again to come down. One of them did come down.”
Matt Walker got back on the bike, and his younger brother Justin came down to see if his brother was okay. Before the bikers left, they told Inn that they were going to have him arrested.
“I did not think it was a serious thing to discharge a weapon trying to shoot a tire,” Inn says, “so I repaired the berm again and was digging some ditches when Sheriff Painter arrived.”
The three bikers returned with the deputy. The first thing Deputy Painter did was confiscate Inn’s revolver.
Then “he turned to them who were sitting on top of my post that I had just placed back on the berm and asked them if they [wanted to press] charges. One of them said, ‘Absolutely.’ Sheriff turned to me and said that he was placing me under arrest. I told him he must be joking. He said he was not.”
Inn was charged with three counts of assault: assault with a firearm against Matt Walker, assault with a firearm against Justin Walker, and willfully maliciously discharging a firearm at an occupied motor vehicle.
The trial was held last month in the superior court in Vista. The three bikers — Mike Catherine and brothers Matt and Justin Walker — described Alan Inn as a crazy man waving a gun at them and threatening to kill them.
The bikers said they were unaware they had crossed onto private property, and they denied destroying any property or barrier. They said the berm was only about 4 feet high, not the 14-foot tower that Inn showed later in court, using photos he took of his property. The bikers said there was no large pole on top of the berm. They said they didn’t see any No Trespassing signs and that Inn never said anything about making a citizen’s arrest.