Sentencing Set in Non-Fatal Gas Station Shooting
Fight over a gas pump at Freestate gas sparked initial conflict
(Updated 8:48 a.m) A Virginia man who stood trial for firing a gun at a man at a Germantown gas station — an escalation of an argument over an available gas pump — is scheduled for sentencing Wednesday in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Dmytro Solomatin, 27, of Reston, Va., was convicted Jan. 19 of first-degree assault and weapons offenses; he was acquitted of fist-degree attempted murder. Judge Ronald B. Rubin presided the three-day trial.
During the trial, Solomatin testified that he fired a 9 mm gun in the direction of Michael Rickley after they got into a fistfight at Freestate gas station Aug. 6, 2011.
Solomatin said he thought Rickley was trying to butt in front of him as he waited for an available gas pump. Rickley said that he made an honest mistake.
Jurors were shown surveillance footage of the men fighting on the ground, returning to their cars and what appears to be Solomatin firing a shot toward Rickley.
No one was shot. The bullet struck the tire of Rickley’s Volkswagen Rabbit.
Arguments hinged on whether Solomatin or Rickley was the aggressor.
During his testimony, Solomatin claimed he was so “terrified” of Rickley that he intentionally shot the Volkswagen tire in order to scare him. He said he went to Montgomery County Police department’s 5th District station to press charges against Rickley, but was arrested.
“I thought he was going to kill me," Solomatin said in his testimony.
Prosecutors argued that Solomatin intended to shoot and kill Rickley but missed due to bad aim.
“I was in shock,” said Rickley during his testimony. "I couldn’t believe he shot at me. I was really hoping he wouldn’t pull the trigger again and hit me."
Charges were not filed against Rickley.
A first-degree assault conviction can carry a sentence of 25 years, according to Maryland law.
The weapons offenses — transporting a handgun and the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony — carry mandatory sentences of at least five years.
This story has been updated since it was originally published to correct the date of Dmytro Solomatin's sentencing, which is Wednesday.