Man charged with firing gun outside Prospect VFW

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ProspectPolicePROSPECT — Police arrested a 61-year-old Shelton man on Saturday after they say he fired a gun at a Veterans of Foreign Wars post during a fundraiser, then placed illegal fireworks near a set of propane tanks.

Police were called to the VFW post on Cheshire Road at about 3 p.m. for a report of a man shooting at an excavator.

When they arrived, Walter Ciepiela, of 559 Asbury Road, Shelton, was already in handcuffs, as he had been confronted by off-duty police who were attending a fundraiser at the post.

About 60 people were in the parking lot, police reported.

A witness told police Ciepiela fired a rifle at an excavator, then cleaned out his car while police were arriving.

Police later found a bag of illegal fireworks, including an M90 and bottle rockets, between propane tanks outside the building.

Those types of fireworks are illegal in the state, and police suspect they belonged to Ciepiela.

Police later found that Ciepiela’s blood-alcohol level was .082, which is slightly over the legal limit to drive. According to police, he admitted to firing the gun because his friends dared him.

Two rifles, both .22-caliber, were seized by police.

There were no reported injuries, but the excavator sustained damage from a bullet and broken glass.

Ciepiela was charged with criminal mischief, first-degree reckless endangerment, illegally firing a firearm, illegal possession of fireworks and first-degree breach of peace.

He was released Monday on a $50,000 bond, and was warned to stay away from alcohol or firearms.