A northern Kentucky man will not face any charges after officials ruled he was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed a man during an altercation on a busy interstate last Friday.
Joshua Taylor was on his way home from work when he crossed paths with John Patrick Abell, who was driving home after a day of fishing. Witnesses describe Abell driving aggressively, and eventually Taylor’s car and Abell’s SUV collided, sending Abell’s vehicle spinning until it came to a stop near an on ramp.
Taylor quickly got on the phone with 911 to report that he’d been involved in a wreck with another driver, and as he was on the phone with dispatchers, he described the driver approaching his own vehicle with a rifle in his hand. Dispatchers heard a brief argument between the two men before shots rang out.
Taylor told dispatch that he had fired shots from his own gun and struck Abell. The call’s recording shows Taylor administering first aid.
Abell, 41, was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds. Some news reports indicated that Abell was from Bellevue, but his most recent address was in Cincinnati, [Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob] Sanders said.
Taylor, 43, of Cincinnati, was questioned by police and released Friday evening.
After reviewing the evidence, the commonwealth’s attorney quickly announced that Taylor was justified in shooting Abell, noting that under Kentucky law “an individual is justified in the use of physical force upon another when the individual believes such force is necessary to protect against the use of unlawful force by another person. The investigation by Ft. Wright and Kenton County Police Departments conclusively found the shooter was reasonably in fear for his own life and responded lawfully,”
A Taurus 9mm handgun was recovered from Taylor’s person. Taylor is believed to have fired his handgun four times. Abell did not fire his rifle. The gun was determined to be unloaded with a trigger lock in place.
“There was no way for Mr. Taylor to know the rifle being stuck in his face was inoperable,” said Sanders, “so that does not make his reaction unreasonable or unlawful.
“In fact, anyone who has a gun pointed at him should always assume the gun is loaded,” Sanders said. Neither party involved has a criminal record. Both were lawfully in possession of their respective firearms. Kentucky no longer requires a permit to carry concealed weapons and does not require guns to be registered.
You can see in the picture above that Abell clearly had his rifle pointed at Taylor through the open passenger-side window. At that point, Taylor was clearly in fear for his life, and prosecutors made the right call in determining that Taylor was justified in shooting in self-defense.
Abell, who leaves behind two daughters, never should have left his vehicle with his rifle in hand to confront Taylor, but he willingly chose to do so. Sadly, it was a mistake that cost him his life and left his loved ones mourning his death.