Massive brawl at barbecue – then a gunshot

A massive fight that broke out during a barbecue at an Apple Valley apartment complex sent one man to the hospital with a bullet lodged in his leg, and another man is facing a felony charge in connection with the shooting.

Police were called to the Oaks Whitney Pines apartments, 7750 Whitney Drive, on June 15 on a report of a fight involving an estimated 15 people pushing each other and throwing drinks. The reporting party also stated he thought he heard a gunshot.

Upon arrival, police detained the man hosting the barbecue, who had blood on his leg, appeared to be intoxicated, and was combative with officers. He was transported to a hospital, where medical staff discovered a bullet in his knee.

James L. McClellon
James L. McClellon

According to witness accounts, the host and his girlfriend had invited friends and family over for a barbecue, but after several drinks, the host got upset and pushed his girlfriend, at which point her family members intervened and a fight broke out.

Witnesses reported hearing a gunshot during an altercation involving the host and 52-year-old James L. McClellon of Albany, Minn., after which McClellon fled the area on foot.

Officers at the scene found a spent bullet casing and a bloody rag, but no gun.

In a statement to police, the host of the barbecue said he didn’t realize he’d been shot until he arrived at the hospital and medical staff found the bullet hole. He told officers he’d consumed four or five beers and a shot of hard liquor.

McClellon was the only person involved in the incident to be charged with a crime, police said.

If convicted of the assault charge, McClellon faces a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. His next court appearance is Aug. 20 in Hastings.