More tow trouble: Lot owner arrested for brandishing weapon
Three weeks after a towing incident at the former Fry's Spring Exxon station on Fontaine Avenue escalated into a confrontation between a vehicle owner and an allegedly gun-wielding property owner, an arrest has been made.
Seventy-five-year-old Lee Hayword Hoff was arrested by Charlottesville Police on December 5 and charged with misdemeanor brandishing a firearm, after his alleged victim, 29-year-old Nicholas Rigterink, filed a complaint with the magistrate.
The incident in question, detailed in the Hook's November 29 cover story, took place November 12 when Rigterink joined friends for dinner at Fry's Spring Station pizzeria at the corner of JPA and Maury Avenue. Rigterink parked across the street at the just-closed Fry's Spring Exxon, where restaurant parking had been permitted by the station owner. With the station closed, the property owners, Lee and Gladys Hoff, however, had changed the parking policy and posted "no parking" signs in their building's windows– signs Rigterink says he didn't see. The Hoffs were parked on the adjacent property, and Rigterink says he believed they were overseeing the towing operation rather than asking drivers to park elsewhere, which angered him.
After finishing dinner, Rigterink told the Hook, he parked his car in front of the Hoffs' SUV, and got out to ask why they were having people towed. That's where the stories diverge. Rigterink says Gladys Hoff got out of the SUV and approached him before he could utter a full sentence. He says Lee Hoff was aiming a gun at him from the vehicle. Gladys Hoff, however, told the Hook Rigterink was the aggressor, and that her husband pulled his weapon only after Rigterink approached her in a threatening manner.
"No husband is going to watch someone run up in his wife's face," Gladys Hoff told the Hook. "You never know what someone is going to do."
Police initially declined to make an arrest, calling the incident a "he said/she said" and instructing Rigterink to file a complaint with the magistrate, which he did on Tuesday, November 27.
Reached for comment after Hoff's arrest, Gladys Hoff suggested the Hook "get your story straight," then hung up. Rigterink did not respond to the Hook's request for comment.
Lee Hoff will appear in Charlottesville District Court on December 14.Read more on: towing