A man facing a murder charge for shooting and killing a motorcyclist who he thought was stalking his daughters is now under investigation for other altercations where he may have had an itchy trigger finger, Georgia law enforcement officials have told ABC News.
"We've got a lot of phone calls from people," Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry told ABC News. "There are other incidents where shots were fired."
Richard Gear now sits in a Georgia jail facing a murder charge after he fatally shot 21-year-old motorcyclist Bryan Joseph "B.J." Mough Monday evening in front of his home. Gear said he acted in self-defense.
Berry said that Gear's two daughters, 17 and 19, called their father as they drove home from an Athens, Ga., Target store to tell him that they had gotten into some sort of road rage dispute with Mough, who was on a motorcycle, in the store's parking lot.
Meanwhile police are looking into other incidents that may have involved Gear and gunshots. One occurred in February 2006, when Oconee deputies responded to a call at Gear's Bogart, Ga., home. The 45-year-old Gear told authorities that his mailbox had been damaged when people he did not know had pulled out of his driveway after he asked them to leave.
When authorities located the people in question, they admitted to accidentally driving over Gear's mailbox, but said it only happened because they were hurrying from the property after shots were fired at them.
Berry's office was never able to bring charges against Gear because police could not prove he fired a gun, and the witnesses would not fully cooperate in the investigation.
Detectives will re-examine that case, Berry said, as well as others.
In Monday's shooting death, Mough apparently followed the girls out of the Target lot and at some point, according to Berry, the Nissan Sentra driven by Gear's daughters made contact with the motorcycle. The girls admitted to authorities that they made obscene hand gestures at Mough during the encounter.
Mough then followed the teens to their family's home, where Berry said Gear "was waiting at the end of the driveway with a .40-caliber semiautomatic." Mough made one pass of the house and on the return pass, Berry said, Gear unloaded multiple shots at Mough, one of which struck him in the back.
Gear called 911 to report to police that he had shot someone in front of his house, Berry said. Mough was transported to a local hospital, where he was declared dead. Deputies arrested Gear Monday night and charged him with murder.
Gear, who is being held without bond, told authorities he was acting in self-defense when he killed Mough. As of this morning, he had not retained legal counsel, Berry said. He has no prior criminal record. he added. The phone number at Gear's Bogart address is no longer working.
A team of deputies will try to reconstruct the alleged accident in the hope that they might determine whether it was the teenage daughters or the motorcyclist that initiated the contact. Berry said it's unlikely, however, that a moving bike would go after a car. "It would be unusual for a motorcycle to ram a four wheel vehicle," he said.
As for Gear's self-defense claims, Berry also said he had doubts about that.
"I don't know how you can legally shoot someone in the back on a motorcycle," Berry said, "and then claim he was was trying to run you down."