GASTONIA, N.C. -- The 76-year-old man charged with firing a shotgun at his female neighbor during a dispute over her dog says he never intended to harm her.
"The Lord said not to kill anybody. I didn't attempt to kill him," said Howard Gibbie, as he sat on a couch in his Mary Street home Thursday night with his wife Maxine.
Gibbie still believes the person he confronted outside his house last Monday was a man, even though the police and the victim are sure it was indeed a 29-year-old woman.
Gibbie was charged with assault with a deadly weapon by Gastonia police after the incident that Gibbie said was an accident when his .16 gauge shotgun discharged.
"I didn't shoot it. It went off," Gibbie said.
Maxine said it started when she took their dog, Smokey, out on their lawn and the neighbor's dog came after it.
"The dog came right over to him and I was scared he was going to kill him," said Mrs. Gibbie.
Howard said he just wanted to find something to use to hit the dog and grabbed his shotgun.
"I grabbed it but I made a mistake. I loaded it. That was a mistake," he said.
Once outside, he said he yelled at the person to get their dog and take it up the street and that is when the gun somehow went off, injuring two of his fingers.
"And I held it up like that and it went (off). You can look at that telephone post," he said.
The buckshot hit a phone pole and the house across the street. The victim said she was sure Gibbie was trying to kill her.
She said, "You know so much goes through your mind when you are staring down the barrel of a gun."
The woman also said Gibbie had used racial slurs including the N-word.
Gibbie said that was not true.
"No, I told him to get that dog up the road. That's all I said," Gibbie said.
His wife said Gibbie didn't want to hurt anyone and said her husband in not a racist.
She said she never heard him refer to the woman using the N-word but added, "That's all they ever called them when we were growing up."
Gibbie is free on a $10,000 bond and is due in court April 30.