Man Pulls Gun in Road Rage Incident to Ward Off Alleged Attackers

The man had a license to carry the gun.

ByABC News
December 7, 2012, 2:59 AM

Dec. 7, 2012— -- A couple driving a van with four children ended up in handcuffs in a bizarre road rage incident after police say they attacked another driver, who then pulled out a gun to protect himself.

Nicholas Flanagan, 30, and Jessica Ratliff, 26, were arrested on charges of battery and disorderly conduct after they jumped out of their vehicle in a parking lot on Dec. 4 in Wausau, Wis., and attacked Scott Van Patter, according to the police report.

Van Patter, 48, told police he showed his semi-automatic .40 caliber handgun, which he has a license to carry, to chase Flanagan and Ratliff away until authorities arrived.

"At that point I felt like my life was in danger and I didn't have a choice," Van Patter said.

Flanagan told police at the scene that Van Patter pulled his gun on them first, but police say witnesses saw Flanagan and Ratliff attack Van Patter first. Van Patter told ABC News that he never pointed his gun at anyone -- just brandished it.

Van Patter told police that he was yanked from his car and Flanagan stabbed him with a key in the stomach and both of his legs.

Police say the altercation began on Highway 29 when Flanagan, driving with Ratliff and four children in their minivan, called 911 to report their car was hit intentionally by Van Patter.

"Ran right into the side of us. We have a car full of kids. A van full of kids. He is coming on the side of us again," Flanagan told the 911 operator.

At the same time, 911 dispatchers received a call from Van Patter claiming he was just hit by the other vehicle. Both 911 dispatchers told the drivers to stop at a nearby shopping center parking lot and wait for police to arrive.

"Alright," Van Patter told the operator. "And I do have a conceal and carry," he added.

Instead of waiting for police, a confrontation erupted between the two drivers and Ratliff.

Van Patter told ABC News Ratliff and Flanagan pulled him out of his vehicle and began attacking him.

"The guy had a key and held it like a knife and stabbing me. And the girl just kept trying to punch me," he said.

Ratliff declined to comment on the incident to ABC News.

"Witnesses in the parking lot informed us that the man and woman had jumped out of the vehicle and began to assault the gentleman in the car," said Deputy Police Chief Bryan Hilts.

Hilts described the incident as a "classic case of road rage," and said it did not matter who hit who on the highway as far as a mitigating factor in what happened in the parking lot.

That's when Van Patter says he went to retrieve the gun to ward off his attackers. He told police that after he scared off Ratliff and Flanagan, he unloaded the gun and placed it back in the car.

Arriving police said that Flanagan and Ratliff were screaming that Van Patter had a gun and pointed it at them.

Police pulled their gun at Van Patter and immediately put him in wrist restraints. Police found the gun unloaded on the seat of Van Patter's car.

He was later released once cops confirmed he had a license to carry the gun. According to the police report, Van Patter had scratches on his face, thigh and leg.

Flanagan and Ratliff have since been released, according to ABC News affiliate WBAY.