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A jury has cleared an Auburn man for pulling a gun when confronted by a Black Lives Matter crowd angered over his father’s Trump-flag-flying pickup truck two years ago during a rally in Manchester.
The verdict ended the day-long trial of Mark Kimball, 21, in Hillsborough County Superior Court. Kimball faced a single charge of felony criminal threatening.
His lawyer had said that Kimball was acting in self defense when he stepped out of his father’s pickup truck and held his gun pointed diagonally to the ground.
“The dad was much more culpable,” said Kimball’s lawyer, Justin Shepherd of Nashua. “Mark acted appropriately as a gun owner. He didn’t point it at anybody, he didn’t say anything, he kept it pointed down at the ground.”
The incident occurred on May 30, 2020, as Black Lives Matter activists were rallying at the Manchester Police Department in the days following the murder of George Floyd.
As a moment of silence was taking place, Scott Kimball drove his pickup truck east on Valley Street. It flew a Trump flag. The older Kimball honked the horn and one or both of the men shouted provocations from the truck. A plastic water bottle struck the truck, Scott Kimball turned around, parked the truck across the street and both father and son exited the vehicle.
Both had weapons in their hands.
Scott Kimball pleaded guilty to two counts of of criminal threatening and was sentenced to a year in jail, probation and racial sensitivity training.
Shepherd had said that his client acted in self-defense — a mob was running toward their pickup. The prosecutor in the case, assistant Hillsborough County attorney Patrick Ives, said the issue probably turned on the self-defense claim.
“This is a difficult issue to decide,” Ives said. Ives had told the jury that state law prevents a person who provokes a confrontation from claiming self-defense.
Kimball can now claim his handgun, which police seized as evidence two years ago. Shepherd said his client is “super nice and polite,” and had to put the case behind him before he could enter the military.
“He’s not like his dad. His dad put him in a horrible position,” Shepherd said.
Last year, Mark Kimball faced three criminal threatening charges, alleging he brandished a gun at the crowd and two individuals. This time, he faced a single charge for brandishing a gun at the crowd.
Ives would not discuss the reasons for dropping the other charges. But Shepherd said one of the two alleged victims did not appear for trial last year, and the other testified that he was focused on Scott Kimball and not aware of Mark Kimball.
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