ST. CHARLES COUNTY • Don and Tracy Leeser say they were simply defending themselves and their 15-year-old son when they brought a baseball bat and handguns last week to a teen fight in a neighborhood park.
Some of the teenagers involved in the fight Wednesday evening, and their parents, say the Leesers’ decision to bring weapons to the park and point a gun at the boys went too far.
Now, St. Charles County police are trying to sort it all out. So far, police have made no arrests.
The video shows the Leesers, both 42, confronting teens at Fleet Park in the St. Charles Hills subdivision near St. Charles West High School. Don Leeser is seen with a baseball bat walking off while his wife screams at the teenagers to stay away from her son. She then pulls a pistol from her pocket, waves it in front of her and points it at two of the teens.
She told the Post-Dispatch she was scared and had the gun to protect herself.
“Did I intend to use the gun? Absolutely not,” she said. “But I felt that was my only safeguard against being killed that night. Worst-case scenario, yes, I would have used it. But I didn’t.”
She pointed the gun at Tyrelle Ware, 15, of St. Charles, who said he uploaded the video to Facebook because he thinks it shows a parent setting a bad example. Tyrelle’s brother, Terrence Ware, 18, and another teen, Jack Herren, are also seen on the video.
Christina Halton, mother of the Ware brothers, said she thinks the Leesers should be charged with a crime.
“If they don’t get charged, what kind of example are we setting for our children — that’s it’s OK to pull guns on kids?” said Halton, 40, of St. Charles. “No, this is not how we deal with kids.”
The Leesers say the feud stems from bad blood between their son, Brett, and the teens seen in the video.
The Leesers said the teens got angry last Wednesday afternoon because Don Leeser tried to break up a fight between two girls who are friends with the Ware brothers. The fight was in front of the Leesers’ house in the 3100 block of Chancery Lane.
During the kerfuffle, Don Leeser pulled out a pocketknife, took a swing at Terrence Ware and chased him a few steps with the knife. Don Leeser said he pulled the knife when he saw Terrence Ware reach for something in his pocket. Terrence Ware said his kept his hands visible and had no weapon.
That evening, Don Leeser said he got a text message from his son saying he needed help because was about to be attacked by several teens at Fleet Park. Don and Tracy Leeser drove to the park armed with pistols and a baseball bat. That was the confrontation in the video posted online. Police were called to the park to break up the fight.
The tension doesn’t seem to be cooling.
Sometime late Saturday or Sunday morning, someone fired about a dozen BBs into the Leesers’ front window. The Leesers’ 8-year-old daughter was asleep on the living room couch just behind the window when the BBs struck. She wasn’t hit but is traumatized, her father said.
The Ware brothers and Herren denied shooting at the window and said they don’t know who did. St. Charles County police are investigating.
“I will do what I have to do to protect my family,” Don Leeser said. “I will let the law try to do their job first, but I’m not going to let my wife and kids get hurt.”