Thompson neighbor, journalist have run-in ahead of funeral
Hunter S. Thompson’s tower of power caused some bad mojo down at Woody Creek on Monday.Two locals, one a photographer freelancing for the Rocky Mountain News, the other a country music star and longtime friend and neighbor of Hunter S. Thompson, exchanged words, and the latter admitted he fired a shotgun blast to punctuate his displeasure.Jimmy Ibbotson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band said the photographer, identified by a photo editor at the Rocky Mountain News as former Aspen Times employee Dan Bayer, refused to leave his property around 4 p.m. after Ibbotson told him to buzz off. Bayer wanted to use Ibbotson’s property to photograph the 150-foot tower that will blast the late author’s ashes during Saturday’s funeral, the musician said.”He wanted to walk across my yard to get a good [picture],” Ibbotson said. “He was asking for my permission and for my complicity. I tried to close the door, he wouldn’t leave.”He said he fired a single blast from a .410-gauge shotgun into the ground as Bayer was driving away down Ibbotson’s long driveway.”He was in no danger. But he won’t come back, you can be sure of that,” Ibbotson said. “I wasn’t aiming at him, I just wanted to scare his ass. I don’t want him coming back here during the event.”Bayer said it was a case of forgotten identity. He said in late February he was hanging out with Ibbotson at the Woody Creek Tavern when the musician invited him back to his place to take some pictures.They hung out for a couple of hours, and “I thought we were on a first-name basis. I thought nothing of going up to his place,” Bayer said.He told Ibbotson that he was trying to find a decent vantage point to get a photograph for the Denver paper and just wanted to park at his house.But Ibbotson appeared not to remember him and brushed him off.”I was surprised. I didn’t mean to offend him,” Bayer said, adding that he did not hear the gunshot.Ibbotson said he was expecting more nastiness with members of the media before the funeral.”If you want to print the fact that neighbors are shooting at paparazzi, please do,” he said. “It might save us a little hassle on the day of the event.”Bayer said he has been aggressive in taking care of assignments but has hardly crossed the line into being a paparazzo.”People know what I’m doing,” he said.The photo editor at the Rocky Mountain News, who didn’t want to be named, confirmed that Bayer was working for the newspaper in Woody Creek Monday.”Dan said he knows this guy and was going to go up, you know … it’s silly,” he said.Pitkin County sheriff’s officials were not available to comment.Ibbotson said law enforcement had not spoken with him, “But I don’t answer the phone very much.”Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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