A man who caught criminals for a living is now one himself.
Bail bondsmen do have what's called bondsman privileges, which means they can reasonably do some of the things police officers can do. But prosecutors say shooting at someone as they are running away is outside the scope.
"Edward Carnaoli was standing in the middle of the street holding a sawed-off shotgun," said Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson.
On Sept. 25 Carnaoli, a well-known bail bondsman, was after a suspect who had jumped bond. When he tracked him down at a home in the 1400 block of Grand Boulevard, prosecutors say the suspect took off running out the back door of a house and Carnaoli opened fire.
"His first thing is, ‘Let's go, he's getting away' and then the second thing he said was, ‘I shot at him. Don't worry, I missed him.' At that point Leavenworth police took him into custody," Thompson said.
Wednesday in a plea agreement Carnaoli pleaded no contest to aggravated assault. Neither he nor his attorney wanted to comment after court.
Thompson said while he understands bondsman have a job to do, this case was about public safety.
"When a bullet leaves a gun it's going to have to go somewhere and no one knows where it's going to go," he said. "Whether he was aiming at him or not, it's going to hit somebody or something, and that causes a lot of danger."
Thompson said having some of the same authority in the case didn't matter because, had it been a police officer, shooting at an unarmed man running away would still be a crime. He added that cases where bondsman privilege is used in a court of law are extremely rare.
"When we looked up case law we found a case from 2004 and they only case that they referenced was a case in 1874, so there's not a lot of law on this, so I don't know that it happens quite frequently," he said.
Sentencing is set for March 12. As part of the plea agreement, Carnaoli is expected to be placed on probation.
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