Man charged with assault after allegedly using pepper spray

Paul Johnson

MONTROSE — A Montrose County man accused of spraying a neighbor with pepper spray prior to a shooting incident last month was charged formally Wednesday with second-degree assault, injury with a deadly weapon.

Paul Johnson, 66, of Montrose County, was advised in Montrose County Court of the charge stemming from a Nov. 23 incident on Escalante Canyon Road during which his neighbor John Jacob Wool, 52, shot Johnson’s wife, Patricia, with a shotgun.

Paul Johnson’s next court date is set for Jan. 27.

Wool and Paul Johnson live in the rural area 15 miles west of U.S. Highway 50 on Escalante Canyon Road, and they have an ongoing dispute, according to court records. Paul Johnson was granted a restraining order against Wool in 2009 prohibiting “contact of any kind,” court records show.

Paul Johnson told police he was heading home on Nov. 23 on Escalante Canyon Road and was at the corner near Standing Rock when his vehicle was run off the road by Wool, according to an arrest affidavit.

Johnson said he then grabbed a can of bear repellent pepper spray and walked toward Wool’s vehicle. He said Wool exited the truck with a shotgun in hand. Johnson told authorities he then started spraying Wool with the pepper spray and emptied the can on Wool, according to the affidavit. Johnson said he heard the gun go off, then heard his wife scream and saw she had been hit by pellets, the affidavit said.

Wool, on the other hand, said Johnson sprayed him with the pepper spray while Wool remained in the cab of his pickup.

“John (Wool) stated he then grabbed his shotgun (and) fired a round out the window in self defense. John (Wool) stated he heard Patricia scream. John (Wool) stated he could not see where he shot due to the pepper spray in his eyes,” the affidavit said.

Patricia Johnson, 66, was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital and is recovering from her injuries.

Wool last week was charged formally with second-degree assault causing bodily injury.


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