A Thanksgiving Day argument about the practice of kneeling in protest during the national anthem at NFL games took a turn for the worse when a North Carolina father broke up a fight between his two sons over the topic and reportedly shot and wounded one of them by accident.
According to reports from ABC News and the News and Observer, police authorities from Cary, North Carolina reported that the above incident started when 21-year-old Esteban Marley Valencia and his brother, 27-year-old Felipe Miguel Valencia, began arguing at Thanksgiving dinner about the kneeling protests that have been taking place in the NFL since the 2016 season. Speaking to police, the young men’s father, 51-year-old Jorge Luis Valencia-Lamadrid, said that Esteban had been “drinking a large amount of alcohol” throughout Thanksgiving and had gotten into “verbal and physical altercations” with other people at home prior to the incident.
A separate report from WRAL noted that Valencia-Lamadrid asked Esteban to leave the house due to his “confrontational” behavior toward his brother, as indicated in a search warrant cited by the news outlet. At first, the younger Valencia refused to leave and tried to keep the argument going by trying to charge at his brother, but was ultimately convinced to do so after his father grabbed a shotgun.
Not long after leaving the house, Esteban Valencia reportedly returned to continue the argument, and when his father reacted by placing Esteban’s bags on the porch, the young man started throwing pieces of patio furniture around. According to the warrant, Valencia-Lamadrid then fired his gun at his son after he hit him in the face with a water bottle. As he recalled to police, Valencia-Lamadrid claimed that the shooting was an accident and that he had no intention of harming anyone.
The above publications noted that Jorge Valencia-Lamadrid was arrested and charged with aggravated assault over the incident, with the News and Observer noting that he was released from jail on Saturday after posting a $50,000 bond. Esteban Valencia sustained gunshot wounds in the hand and leg and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
None of the reports specified which of Valencia-Lamadrid’s sons were in support of or against the national anthem protests, nor was it indicated if the suspect had a stand on the issue or not. While the reports also didn’t indicate if Valencia-Lamadrid had an arrest record prior to the Thanksgiving Day incident, the News and Observer wrote that per Wake County, North Carolina records, Esteban Valencia was arrested twice in the summer for allegedly driving while impaired.