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Tuesday, October 7 2008| 1:26 p.m.
By STEPHANIE RICE, COLUMBIAN STAFF WRITER
Iraq War veteran Christopher Partridge listens to opening statements Monday in Clark County Superior Court. Partridge faces prison if convicted of first-degree assault. ((Zachary Kaufman/The Columbian))
Jurors spent one hour Tuesday morning listening to an expletive-filled tape of an interview defendant Christopher P. Partridge gave to police after he fired his gun last year at another driver on state Highway 500.
Partridge, 26, told Detective John Ringo of the Vancouver Police Department that the driver cut him off and then gave him an obscene gesture.
The bullet went through the driver’s door and was found on the floorboard. The driver and her daughter were not injured.
The driver, Lorna Williams, testifed Monday in Clark County Superior Court that she had only thrown up her hands in frustration at her daughter, who was giving her directions, after they had missed the Andresen Road exit.
On the tape, Ringo asked Partridge if he thought that reaching for his gun and firing a round was a reasonable response to getting flipped off.
“A smart, reasonable response? No,” Partridge said. “Because I just shot at someone with the intent to kill. You might as well put that in there, because you don’t fire a weapon without the intent to kill, right? One shot, one kill,” he said.
If convicted of first-degree assault with a deadly weapon, Partridge faces a minimum of 12 years in prison.
His attorney told jurors Monday during opening statements that Partridge, an Iraq war veteran, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and he fired his gun in self-defense because of the perceived threat from the other driver.
Ringo testified Tuesday that when he first contacted Partridge at his home the evening of the Sept. 18, 2007, incident, Partridge said he fired his gun because “that car couldn’t make a (expletive) decision and it pissed me off because I had already had a bad day.”
Partridge had been driving home from his job as a tractor mechanic in Forest Grove, Ore. On the taped interview with Ringo, he said a young driver on Oregon’s Highway 26 tailgated him, setting him off. He said he followed that car off the highway and followed it for 45 minutes, thinking what he should do to the driver.
“Do I want to beat the (expletive) out of this (expletive)? Do I want to let it go?” Partridge said. “Do I want to kill him? Do I want to scare him?”
“And this is because he tailgated for a little while?” Ringo asked.
“Oh, for a very long time,” Partridge said.
Partridge said he stopped following that car because he ran out of gas, so he filled up his tank and continued his commute home.
On the tape, he did mention his post-traumatic stress disorder. He said he was taking medication. He also said that PTSD is “a stupid (expletive) reason to shoot somebody.”
The trial is expected to finish by Thursday.