Accidental St. Charles Shooting: Honesty Prompts Lesser Charge
The “extremely honest and apologetic” man immediately came forward after accidentally firing his friend’s pistol, damaging a home across the street. No one was hurt.
\A West Chicago man’s honesty and willingness to take responsibility for accidentally firing a pistol whose bullet went through the wall of his friend’s home and damaged a door across the street were factors in authorities’ decision not to seek felony charges.
No one was injured in the incident.
Aaron M. Studer, 22, of the 3N400 block of Hickory Knoll, West Chicago, was charged instead with a misdemeanor count of reckless conduct in the Jan. 21, 2013 shooting incident on Monroe Avenue. He posted $150 bond and was released pending a Feb. 21 court appearance.
He could have faced a felony charge of reckless discharge of a firearm, but police were obviously impressed with Studer. In their report on the incident, police described Studer as “extremely honest and apologetic,” and noted he was forthcoming about taking responsibility for the accident, offering immediately to pay for the damage. Other factors considered were the shooting was unintended — Studer did not know the gun was loaded when he pulled the trigger — and that he has no criminal record.
Studer was charged at 12:20 a.m., about 28 minutes after police were called to a home on the 500 block of Monroe Avenue by a woman reporting that someone had broken the glass front door of her home. She told officers that before they arrived, she learned that the damage to her door was the result of an accidental shooting.
With her in her home, using her phone when police arrived, was a neighbor from across the street. He told officers that Studer had come to his home after the two had finished working out, and that he showed Studer his 9 mm Glock 19 handgun. He told police he had informed Studer the gun was not loaded, meaning there was no round in the firing chamber, although the magazine was inserted in the pistol.
Studer did not realize that when he racked the slide of the gun, which pushed a round into the chamber and discharged when he pulled the trigger. The bullet passed through the wall and then damaged the door on the home across the street.
After they recovered from the shock, the man said he and Studer went out into the street to see where the bullet went and to learn if anyone was injured.
Police said Studer, who also was at the shooting scene when officers arrived, took responsibility for the accident and apologized to the woman whose door had been damaged. He told her he had not intended to cause any damage or harm and offered to pay for the damage, police said.
The woman told police she appreciated Studer had been forthcoming about the accident and did not want to press charges.
The gun’s owner produced for police his firearm owner’s identification card, the spent bullet casing, and two guns — the Glock 19 that had been fired, and Hornady Luger 9 mm bullets. Police took the Glock 19 into evidence.
Editor's note: This story initially misidentified Hornady Luger 9 mm as a gun when in fact it is a brand name of bullets.
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