Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Boat shooting begins the season with a thud

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Jay Allen could tell the guy yelling at him from the dock Sunday night was angry about something, so he slowed his 36-foot cabin cruiser to ask what was wrong.

Before he could say anything, six bullets slammed into the side of his boat.

"At that point," Allen said Monday, "we didn't stick around to have a conversation."

The shooting abruptly ended Allen's first cruise on the Ohio River this year and set a disturbing tone for the start of Greater Cincinnati's boating season.

Police later arrested Rick Lee Perrill and charged him with seven felony counts of wanton endangerment. Perrill, 45, is accused of firing the shots with a rifle from near the Anchor Inn Marina in Dayton, Ky.

None of the seven people on Allen's boat was hurt, but everyone was shaken up. One of Allen's friends was below deck using the restroom when a bullet shattered a window and missed his head by about 2 feet.

Allen said his friend ran upstairs and yelled, "The window just exploded!"

By then, Allen said, he had slowed the boat and pulled it close to the dock to find out why the man on the dock seemed so upset.

"He was shouting, yelling and cussing. We didn't know what was wrong," Allen said. "We looked up and saw him going crazy."

He thought maybe his boat had left a big wake. But Allen said he never got a chance to find out.

That's because as soon as he got close to the dock, he noticed that the man was wielding a claw hammer. And then he heard his friend screaming and saw the six bullet holes in the side of his boat.

Allen, who owns used-car dealerships in Greater Cincinnati, said the shots probably caused thousands of dollars of damage because he'll have to replace the starboard side of his boat.

He said he had just finished preparing the boat for the spring and had invited some friends along for a quick cruise.

He spent most of the day Monday making some temporary repairs and assessing the damage.

"I've never seen anything like this before," Allen said.

A judge set a $10,000 bond Monday for Perrill, who remained locked up at the Campbell County Detention Center in Newport.

Dayton Police Chief Rick Brown said the case remains under investigation.

"I'm sure he had to have some kind of motive," Brown said. "But I don't know it yet."


E-mail dhorn@enquirer.com

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