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Plea Entered in Pasadena Shooting

September 09, 1993

A former president of the Pasadena chapter of the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People pleaded not guilty last week in Pasadena Municipal Court to one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with an incident his attorney says was an accidental shooting.

John Jackson Kennedy, 31, does not deny pulling the trigger on a semiautomatic handgun, wounding a friend Aug. 30, said Michael T. Shannon, his attorney.

However, Shannon said the nonfatal shooting in Kennedy's car was an accident. Kennedy entered the plea last Thursday.

The victim, Jonathan Thomas, a friend of Kennedy's from Pasadena, is recovering and has been released from the hospital in good condition after the bullet passed through him, Pasadena Police Sgt. Dave Richter said.

Richter said the injury was not life-threatening.

According to police, Thomas, 19, had called Kennedy to get a ride home from a friend's house about 11:30 p.m. Aug. 30. Kennedy claims that when Thomas got into his car he had a gun, which Kennedy said he took from the youth, warning him about its dangers.

Kennedy told police that he asked Thomas if the gun was loaded and Thomas said no. Kennedy shot the gun once and nothing happened; he shot again and a bullet went into Thomas' stomach, police said.

Thomas confirmed Kennedy's account but told police that when he said the gun wasn't loaded, he meant there was no bullet in the chamber. He said he kept the gun for protection.

A preliminary court hearing was set for Oct. 20 for Kennedy, who was released on his own recognizance.

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