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Man shot in Groves said he was the peacemaker, 2 others assaulted his girlfriend

GROVES — A lifelong Groves resident who was shot by a stranger after a disturbance with his girlfriend is now telling his side of the story.

Craig Grice takes issue with the words “Good Samaritans” used in an earlier story to describe the two men who gave his common law a wife a ride home after he left her near the Rainbow Bridge marina following an argument Sunday night.

Grice explained all couples have disagreements and he would never hit a woman.

It began when his girlfriend had the task of driving the boat trailer down the ramp while he was going to drive the boat up to the trailer.

“Normally she does OK. I don’t know what happened to her that night,” Grice, who said he has years of experience with boats, recalled. “She does not drink so it’s not from her being intoxicated. She was nervous.”

His girlfriend somehow jackknifed the trailer, which made Grice mad, but he did not hit her. He then backed the trailer to the water and put the boat on the trailer himself.

Then two men who Grice said live at a mobile home park near the bridge came out and started yelling at him about the way he was speaking to his girlfriend. The girlfriend, Gaye Estrada, saw the two men approach and begin to yell at Grice saying “I can’t believe you talk to her like that” and used abusive language.

“It was bad,” Estrada said of the language the men used.

Estrada and Grice have known each other many years and were next to each other in their high school yearbook. After Estrada’s husband died a few years back, the two reconnected and have been together since.

Grice left Estrada at the marina and drove off, taking time to cool off from his anger. She said she figured Grice would go home and drop off the boat and dogs and come back and get her.

While he was gone the men offered her a beer, which she refused because she does not drink, then asked if they could get her a Coke, to which she agreed. She said she checked the cap on the drink to make sure it hadn’t been tampered with.

Police were called and an officer reportedly told the woman she should spend the night with the two men, to which she said “no” and that she “didn’t even know them.”

“They (the two men) were telling him (officer) he abused me. I said no, he didn’t abuse me. He didn’t hit me,” she said. “He said I feel like you should stay with him tonight and go home in the morning. I’m thinking I’m going to get raped, going to get killed (If I go with the men.)”

After police left, the men continued to talk with her and one groped her breast, she said. She began calling Grice but his phone was on “do not disturb” so she left multiple voice messages asking for him to come and pick her up, she said.

“You can tell by the way I was talking (in the voice message) that I was scared,” she said. “I thought of walking home but it was dark.”

She sat there a while, she said, and talked them into bringing her home, saying “Let’s go see if he threw my stuff out in the dark” then one of them said “I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Then she pleaded to go home so she could check on her dogs.

One of the men who said he is skilled in martial arts made a threatening remark saying he was going to shoot Grice in the head, she said.

The two men and Estrada arrived at the Taft Avenue house in a near windowless van before Grice arrived but she had left her door key inside. The men broke the door so she could get inside, Grice explained.

“They were in the house when I got there. So I get in and my girlfriend said “they have a gun,” Grice said. “They got out of the house and that’s when I grabbed my shotgun. I had no intention of killing anybody. Like I said (earlier) I shot at the ground.”

Grice said there were no bullet holes in the men or their truck and they were not in fear for their life. In fact, the men pistol-whipped him, he said.

During the altercation one of the strangers shot and hit Grice in the thigh. He suffered a non-life threatening injury when the bullet went in and exited his thigh.

Grice said he is concerned with the words “Good Samaritans” used to describe the men who brought his girlfriend home and who shot him.
“I was the one trying to keep the peace other than me having a few verbal words about my girlfriend tearing up my trailer,” he said.

Grice said he has voice messages of the men threatening to beat him up and put a bullet in his head.

He said he is also concerned that police have not interviewed him other than at the hospital and have not spoke with neighbors. And during the incident at some point he lost his $700 pair of sunglasses or they were stolen, he added.

Grice is not able to work at this time due to the injury, he said.

No arrests have been made and the incident is still under investigation, according to Groves City Marshal Norman Reynolds Jr.

Once the investigation is completed, the case will be turned over to the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

For additional reporting, view https://www.panews.com/2021/01/26/jackknifed-boat-trailer-squabble-leads-domestic-dispute-shooting-of-good-samaritan-authoritie-say/