A Powell County man accused of shooting his son five times in a dispute that began with a moped mishap was charged Friday with attempted murder.
The son, Dean Esteppe, 32, was listed in critical condition Friday at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, said Powell County Deputy Sheriff Matt Reed, who had spoken with the surgeon treating Esteppe. "He's going to make it," Reed said.
Besides attempted murder, the father, Sterling Esteppe, 54, was charged with two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment. He was being held in the Powell County jail.
The shooting happened after 9:30 p.m. Thursday on Snow Creek Road, south of Clay City.
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Earlier Thursday, Sterling Esteppe had wrecked a moped, a mishap for which he was teased by his son Dean; his wife, Angie; and a cousin, Joe Hall.
"They were calling him Evel Knievel, just joking around, and he was joking around with them," Reed said. "All of a sudden, he just snapped. When he went after the son, he threw the mother on the ground. The son took up for his mother and struck the father."
Things temporarily settled down, and Sterling Esteppe, who had been drinking, got up and announced that he was going to bed. Dean and his mother and Hall went outside to look for a lens that had dropped out of Sterling Esteppe's eyeglasses, and they found it in the driveway. As they were walking back to the house, Sterling Esteppe came out with a .22 rifle at his side, Reed said.
"He said, 'Dean, I told you before, if you hit me again, I'm going to kill you,' " Reed said. Sterling Esteppe then started shooting.
Dean Esteppe forced his mother to the ground and began running toward his father. Dean Esteppe was shot twice in the abdomen, twice in the face and once in the left arm, Reed said.
Despite being wounded, Dean Esteppe was able to get the rifle from his father and hit him with the stock. "He took the rifle from his dad and swung it like a baseball bat, and busted the stock on the side of the dad's head, basically knocking him out," Reed said.
Sterling Esteppe was initially taken for treatment to Clark Regional Medical Center in Winchester and was later transferred to the Lexington hospital. Reed escorted him to the jail in Stanton on Friday.