Man charged with theft in shooting incident near Gordonsville

Published 1:30 pm Tuesday, October 19, 2021

An Iowa man who was shot while allegedly stealing a pickup truck near Gordonsville last month is now facing charges of felony theft and criminal damage to property. 

Andre Tyree Williams, 38, of Harcourt, Iowa, is slated to appear in Freeborn County District Court on the charges on Nov. 4. 

The incident took place Sept. 26 at 11859 800th Ave.

Court documents state deputies were dispatched to the residence after receiving a call from a woman that someone had stolen a blue Chevy pickup and that her husband had shot a gun into the air. 

When a deputy arrived, the pickup was in the ditch and hung up on a fence, and other men were standing in the road. 

Williams, who had allegedly attempted to take the truck, was sitting on the ground near the driver’s side of the vehicle and said he couldn’t stand or move the right side of his body. 

Court documents state at first the deputy could not see any injuries to Williams, but after helping him remove his foot from the fence, he saw two puncture wounds to the top of his back. The wounds were not bleeding at that time, but his undershirt was soaked in blood and there was blood running on the board of the truck and on the side of the passenger seat. 

Williams reportedly admitted to stealing the truck and said he had been shot. He was taken to Mayo Clinic Health System in Albert Lea and eventually flown to St. Marys Hospital in Rochester. 

James Joseph Vinton, 38, who lived at the residence, was charged with one count of second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and one count of intentional discharge of a firearm that endangers the safety of another, both felonies. 

Vinton’s wife told a Sheriff’s Office detective she and her husband had gone to bed and could hear an engine revving outside their home. Vinton got up to check it out and saw a vehicle in the north pasture. He went outside to investigate and then came back in and told her someone had stolen the pickup. He reportedly grabbed a .243 rifle from the bedroom closet and left the house again. 

Vinton’s wife said she called 911 to report the theft and at that time stepped outside and heard the engine revving and could hear fence posts being run over. She said she heard a gunshot and her husband came back and brought the gun back into the house. He told her he fired a shot into the air and that the other man had been shot.

Vinton reportedly told a Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office detective he fired one shot over the pickup and told the detective he figured it was kids trying to take the truck and was hoping to scare them. 

After that shot, the pickup continued to the southeast corner of the pasture fence, went through the fence and was in the ditch on the roadway. At that time Vinton said he thought the pickup was directly in front of him and facing away. As the pickup was climbing onto the roadway, it started to turn left to head north on 800th Avenue, and he told the detective he allegedly fired a second round from his rifle.

After that, the truck drove north on 800th Avenue and then got stuck in the ditch down the road. 

In an interview from the hospital with a detective two days after the incident, Williams said that he had been at his girlfriend’s house in Wisconsin for the weekend and was driving back home to Mason City. He said he was driving his nephew’s vehicle, a white Suburban, but did not remember leaving Albert Lea or driving through Glenville. 

He told the detective he remembered running through tall grass and then a soybean field. He came to a home and started yelling for help while standing in the yard. 

When no one came outside, he said he sat in a pickup. After sitting there for 10 to 15 minutes, he started it up and began to drive off. He got stuck in the ditch and was rocking it back and forth to try to get out. He said as he got out, he felt like he was hit in the back of the head and said he thought that must have been when he was shot. 

The detective drove to the area where Williams said he had been driving the Suburban and spoke to a farmer who was working on his combine. The farmer knew where the vehicle was and took him to the location. The driver’s door of the vehicle was open and the keys were in the ignition. 

The fog lights had soybeans in them and there were soybeans stuck in the tread of the tires. The detective also observed tracks going through a nearby soybean field. 

Court documents state damage to the field was estimated at about $292, and the value of the pickup was between $2,800 and $3,600.