Family feud leads to shootouts in Bald Knob

Associated PressSeptember 12, 2008 

FRANKFORT — Five people remained jailed on Thursday after what police described as a feud escalated into a shootout in a rural Kentucky community.

Trooper Ronald Turley said two neighboring families who harbored "a general dislike for each other" exchanged gunfire in the Bald Knob community north of Frankfort on Tuesday evening. No one was killed in the shootings, but two people were struck by shotgun pellets.

Turley said troopers confiscated 10 shotguns and rifles from two homes.

"They were very lucky that somebody didn't get killed up there," he said.

Troopers arrested Mitchell R. Engler, 52, and Christopher T. Beagle Sr., 41, both of Bald Knob, on multiple counts of felony wanton endangerment. They hadn't been in custody long when state police were called back to the same location because a second firefight was under way. Troopers then arrested the men's sons, Anthony Engler, 32, and Christopher T. Beagle Jr., 18. They also were charged with multiple counts of wanton endangerment. An unidentified 15-year-old was also arrested.

Turley described the conflict as "an ongoing feud." He said it resulted from "some type of personal issue."

Engler's stepdaughter, Rhonda Jones, said the hail of bullets shattered windows and left holes in walls.

"They were shooting out the back doors at each other," she said.

Jones blamed the Beagle family for initiating the gunfire, saying they were "standing over there, running their mouths." The Beagle family doesn't have a listed telephone number. Court documents listed no attorneys of record, and public defender Rodney Barnes couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Police confiscated two guns after the first shootout. Jones said they took eight more guns from the two homes after the second firefight.

The four men were still being held in the Franklin County Regional Jail on Thursday. A judge set bond at $10,000 for each of them.

They pleaded not guilty at arraignment hearings Wednesday. Preliminary hearings were set for each of them Thursday.

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