Tuesday June 26, 2012

GREAT BARRINTON -- The 54-year-old Montgomery Road man accused of threatening his roommate with a shotgun and firing a slug into the ceiling is being held without bail pending a court hearing later this week.

James K. Norris was arraigned Monday in Southern Berkshire District Court. Norris faces one count each of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, carrying a firearm without a license, and discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building. He is due back in court for a hearing on Thursday that will determine if he’s a danger to the community.

In a police report on last Thursday’s incident, Norris’ now former roommate, James Parrish, said Norris was intoxicated and angry about a past living arrangement. Parrish claimed Norris pushed him around and said things like, "You screwed me over in the past" and "What have you done for me?" Parrish told police he had lived with Norris 12 years ago and moved back into Norris’ home in March in exchange for doing work around the house.

After that initial altercation, Parrish said he was making dinner around 6 p.m. when Norris pushed a 12-gauge shotgun into his right temple. Not thinking the gun was loaded, Parrish turned to face Norris and pushed the gun away with his forearm. The shotgun then went off and blew a hole through the ceiling. The two fought before Parrish was able to leave. Parrish moved out on Friday, telling investigators he feared for his safety.

Parrish called police on Saturday and agreed to assist with the investigation. The Berkshire County Special Response Team arrived at the house shortly after and used a loud speaker to call Norris outside. After the third request, Norris came outside and was arrested without incident, according to the police report.

Norris told investigators he pulled the gun on his roommate and fired a round into the ceiling, but denied pointing it at Parrish’s head.

Norris said both men had been drinking Thursday night and Parrish had been laughing at him and pushing him around him when they got home.

Norris told investigators he only intended to scare his roommate, and though he couldn’t remember if he knew the gun was loaded, he admitted he must have been aware that it was.

To reach Trevor Jones:
tjones@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_TrevorJones