BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (FOX 13) - They were out for some summer fun, riding an ATV near their home, but three teens in Brooksville found themselves hightailing it home after a neighbor started firing shots.
The 30-year-old man, who posted a 'No Trespassing' sign on his property, admitted to deputies he fired the gun to scare the kids away. It worked, but those shots also landed him in jail.
He fired at least three shots into the ground, with his arm pointing toward the teens, closer to them each time.
"I didn't know who he was, or how crazy he was," said Kalei St. Pierre, 14.
As Kalei and her friends headed north on Hadley Drive, they spotted Kneiss about 20 feet away.
"He was just standing in the middle of the road, shooting his gun at the ground and going higher and higher," Kalei said. "I thought we were going to get shot."
The kids hightailed it home, about 500 feet away, and told the adults what happened.
"I think he is just not OK and should get some help," said 12-year-old Skyla McCort.
Skyla's mom, Crystal Musso, says she knows Kneiss' mother and, if the kids were making too much noise, were near the Kneiss' property, or were otherwise annoying them, all she had to do was call.
"Even if he was aiming at the ground, if there was a rock there, it could have popped back up and hit one of my children," Musso said. "Then this would have been a whole other story."
The Hernando County Sheriff's Office agreed. Deputies found Kneiss after the incident and pointed out, they would have been happy to respond if he called 911 to report the kids.
Instead, they responded to lock him up.
After his admission, Kneiss was charged with aggravated assault and held at the Hernando County Jail on a $6,000 bond.
The kids say they are going to spend the rest of the summer out of town.