A New Richland man is facing criminal charges after he allegedly used a spotlight to hunt raccoons and deer in rural Steele County.
Kaleb Alan Christensen, 38, was charged Wednesday with possession of a suppressor that was not lawfully possessed under federal law, a felony. He is also facing a gross misdemeanor charge of using an artificial light while hunting.
According to the criminal complaint, Steele County deputies were called on Tuesday to the 8400 block of 98th Street Southwest for a report of a suspicious vehicle. The caller reportedly said he saw a person shining lights into a tree and heard gunshots. Law enforcement located three .22 caliber Winchester brand shell casings in the roadway where the alleged shooting took place, according to court documents.
A deputy saw a vehicle stopped on the roadway with a beam of light coming from the vehicle and shining up into nearby trees, according to the report. As the deputy approached, the vehicle allegedly turned around and sped away. The report shows a radar reading of 70 miles per hour, and the deputy initiated a traffic stop. The driver was identified as Christensen.
Christensen reportedly told deputies he had been using the light to locate raccoons and deer. He also indicated he had guns in a case on the floor of the front passenger side, according to the complaint. Christensen allegedly denied shooting any of the guns prior to law enforcement's arrival.
Based on Christensen's admissions to shining wildlife and the presence of firearms in the vehicle he was arrested, according to court documents. Deputies then searched his vehicle and reportedly located two Ruger .22 caliber pistols, a Kimber .45 caliber pistol and many .22 caliber Winchester brand cartridges and empty casings throughout the vehicle. Court records show one of the pistols had a homemade suppressor attached to the barrel and a second homemade suppressor was located in the vehicle.
Christensen's next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 29.