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Posted: 2/10/2006 8:20:34 AM EDT
I mentioned in another thread that I had a negligent discharge and went to jail for it.  This is my recount of that experience.  A friend has asked me to place this online as a warnng.  Don't try this at home.

I live in Maricopa County, Arizona, in an apartment complex.  

About eight weeks ago, while administratively loading a .45 caliber 1911 after a dry-fire session, I negligently disharged the weapon.  The bullet went down a hallway and through the wall, entering my neighbors apartment approximately 10 feet feet from her.  My reaction, at first, was to wonder why my ears were ringing.  When I realized what had happened, I cussed a little, put the gun down and went outside to call the police.  While on the phone with the dispatcher, I went to my neighbors apartment to make sure she was OK.  She was, though quite shaken.  I traced the path of the bullet through her wall, down a hallway and over her bed.  It appeared to me at the time that the bullet ended up in the parking lot, although it actually fell to the floor in her external storage closet.

The dispatcher asked me to return to my appartment, which I did.  Several minutes later, she told me that I could go outside.  I went out and located the police, who were understandably on edge.  I showed them my hands and said: "I'm the guy you are looking for."  I helped them disarm me and told them where my other guns were.  They asked why I had so many.  I'm not used to that question; I only have 6.  They also told me that dry-firing is stupid.

They  interviewed both of us, took some pictures.  I was still quite shaken and they pressed hard, trying to make sure I was telling the truth.  Once they were satisfied, the asked me to wait outside with one of the officers.  Interestingly, one of the first questions they asked the victim was if she had been playing loud music, or done anything else that would make me want to shoot at her.  I guess they have to cover all their bases.

About an hour after they arriwved, they placed me under arrest for Misconduct with a Weapon, which they were reasonably sure was some sort of misdemeanor.  I was transported to the municipal jail by wagon.  Before I was placed in the wagon I heard one of the cops say something about "Too bad he can't sit back with a six-pack."  I still wish I'd heard more of that conversation.

I was booked for Endangerment, a Class 6 Felony, and spent the night in the County jail.  A little advice.  If you freak out in jail, the other guests in your cell will give you shit.  Deadpan them and tell them you were in a shooting.

I was released on my own recognizance at 5 AM to a part of town that I'd never been in, and called a good friend to come get me.  I managed to get a little sleep (don't sleep in jail... Don't lay down either) on my buddies couch, then he cleaned out all the weapons in my apartment.  I retained a lawyer that same day, and was evicted that night, about 24 hours after the incident.

I managed to find another apartment that week.  In the course of the week I also locked my keys in my vehicle twice, requiring 60 dollars worth of locksmith's service each time, missed my first real date in 2 years, and got shit on by a bird.

One month after the incident, I was arraigned.  Since the state was unsure that they would be able to prove recklessness, a level of mens rea they had to meet with the Endangerment charge, they added a count of Unlawful Discharge, another Class 6 felony.  I was now facing 12-36 months in prison.

Fortunately, a senior member of the prosecutors office became aware of my case at this point, and looked into it.  After speaking with the victim, and considering the 16 letters of recommendation from friends and family with 150 years of military experience, he deicided to dismiss it.  I had to meet three conditions.  I had to pay for all damages, which I'd already done, take a safety class, which is hard to do when you are prohibited from possessing weapons, and pay the victims costs for her cleaining. She wanted to move.

I met all but the last of these conditions.  The problem arose when the victim could not be reached by the prosecutor.  He finally became irritated and asked me to send her 150 dollars, her estimated costs.  I did this.  When she got mthe check, she finally called to say that her actual costs had been less- but since I did not want to vacate the dismissal until I got my money back, I let it go.

The charges were dismissed at 8:45 this morining.  I got a sandwhich and started drafting this for you guys right away.

If you want to know how much this cost, take the price of an MP-5 (transferrable, of course) and add mags, an LBV, several thousand rounds of ammo and a class.  Yeah.

Lessons learned:
Don't shoot holes in walls.  The victim could have been killed.  That was in fact why I was so concerned and called the cops to begin with.  

There are a number of ways to prevent an accident from taking on this kind of severity.  If an accident has to happen, take steps to minimize the risk.  Submariner has a pretty good setup for dry firing, and it is a good idea to manipulate the weapon into a piece of ballistic armor as well.

Jail sucks.  Be careful, or you might end up learning that the hard way.

EDIT: I do not need to be reminded that someone could have been killed.   Believe me, I know.  This post is to remind all of you what the consequences can be.  I have had to come to terms with mine already.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:31:55 AM EDT
[#1]
150 years of military service?

Damn.  

Glad things got dismissed.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:32:17 AM EDT
[#2]
BTT.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:33:02 AM EDT
[#3]
Glad shes ok
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:33:24 AM EDT
[#4]

Quoted:
150 years of military service?

Damn.  

Glad things got dismissed.



Two LTC's, a Silver Star winner and a few others.

BTT'd while you were posting.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:33:27 AM EDT
[#5]
Glad it worked out ok. You have 150 years of military experiance?
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:34:38 AM EDT
[#6]
Damn! Ouch!
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:34:54 AM EDT
[#7]

Quoted:
Glad it worked out ok. You have 150 years of military experiance?



No, my letter writers do.  Give me a break, I haven't been sleeping lately.  I'll edit it.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:41:02 AM EDT
[#8]
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:41:25 AM EDT
[#9]
"This too shall pass."
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:41:40 AM EDT
[#10]
Why are you prohibited from owning weapons?

If the felonies were dismissed you should be ok.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:41:50 AM EDT
[#11]
It does suck that an accident can cause on so much grief and money. I understand why many people don't stick around when they hit something with their car. Not that it's right, though-
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:42:45 AM EDT
[#12]

Quoted:

I was now facing 12-36 months in prison.



For an accident in which no one was hurt?  Is this normal?

Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:43:05 AM EDT
[#13]

Quoted:
What you went through is nothing compared to what could have happened to that bullet had hit the neighbor. You got off easy on that one, though I am sure it does not seem that way.



You don't not have to remind me, but that TV thread turned something that is not humorous into a joke.  What I did has a few more lasting consequences for myself and my neighbor, yet no one will turn this into a joke.

I'm not trying to say that what I did was nothing.  It was most certainly a big fuckup.  
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:44:52 AM EDT
[#14]
Nearly the exact same thing happened to a former friend of mine, except it was in a hotel room (so he didn't get evicted from his apartmnet).  He wound up with a misdemeanor and actually got his guns back.  
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:46:14 AM EDT
[#15]

Quoted:
Why are you prohibited from owning weapons?

If the felonies were dismissed you should be ok.



I think that he was prohibited from possessing weapons while he was still technically under trial for the felony.  That would make it hard to meet the terms of the dismissal (safety training course involving firearms). Once the charges were dismissed, I think he would be good again to own guns.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:46:17 AM EDT
[#16]
Lesson #1: Be careful, always practice firearms safety.

Lesson #2: Don't call the cops on yourself in and make a bad situation worse.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:46:29 AM EDT
[#17]
Interesting story.  Thanks for taking the time to post it.

Nothing fun, glad everyone is ok, and I am sure it was a solid learning experience for you on the actual (and potential) consequences of a ND.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:47:49 AM EDT
[#18]

Quoted:
Why are you prohibited from owning weapons?

If the felonies were dismissed you should be ok.



One of the release conditions was that I not possess weapons of any sort.  Now that the charges are dismissed, my rights are fully restored.


Quoted:

Quoted:

I was now facing 12-36 months in prison.



For an accident in which no one was hurt?  Is this normal?




Around here, it is not unheard of.  Had I not been able to afford the level of legal counsel that I was, I would probably have been convicted, if it had gone to trial.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:49:03 AM EDT
[#19]
Thanks for posting this.  Glad only money was lost.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:49:56 AM EDT
[#20]

Quoted:
and got shit on by a bird.



Worst part of the story....
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:50:14 AM EDT
[#21]

Quoted:

Quoted:
Why are you prohibited from owning weapons?

If the felonies were dismissed you should be ok.



One of the release conditions was that I not possess weapons of any sort.  Now that the charges are dismissed, my rights are fully restored.


Quoted:

Quoted:

I was now facing 12-36 months in prison.



For an accident in which no one was hurt?  Is this normal?




Around here, it is not unheard of.  Had I not been able to afford the level of legal counsel that I was, I would probably have been convicted, if it had gone to trial.




Doesn't Maricopa have a rep for prosecuting everything to the max for publicity?
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:50:17 AM EDT
[#22]

Quoted:
Lesson #1: Be careful, always practice firearms safety.

Lesson #2: Don't call the cops on yourself in and make a bad situation worse.



triburst, not only is it the law that all discharges in dwellings must be reported, it would have gone much worse for me had I not reported it.  Furthermore, had my neighbor been hurt it would have been in everyone's best interest to get medical help as soon as possible.

My concerns were not for myself.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:50:58 AM EDT
[#23]
ASU,

Sucks about your plight.

I've had the pleasure of spending about 30 hours in jail, some of it at Madison. Sucks doesn't even begin to describe it. I was framed up by a repo agency. That only cost me about $1200 and 30 hours plus court time.

Was it Tempe PD that got you or ASU PD? Cops are not your friend when they think you are guilty.

Are you good to go on owning firearms still? I had a friend who got hit w/ misconduct witha weapon. His was sans holster in a vehicle after surviving a drive-by shooting. He didn't even return fire.

Learn from the lesson. Be a chamber checking nazi from now on.

I've had an AD from a mechanical failure on a 1911 at a range one time. No one was injured and it was pointed down range at the time. Also, Kimber mod 70's will discharge when dropped nose down on the barrel, on a hard surface - like pavement.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:51:41 AM EDT
[#24]

Quoted:

Quoted:
Glad it worked out ok. You have 150 years of military experiance?



No, my letter writers do.  Give me a break, I haven't been sleeping lately.  I'll edit it.



hehe, yea I know, I'm just kidding
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:52:34 AM EDT
[#25]
My lawyer firmly believes that Maricopa County prosecutes every felony they can to make it easier to prosecute future felonies.  Considering how hard it can be to function as a felon, this would cause more crime.  I don't know what to believe.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:55:07 AM EDT
[#26]

Quoted:
Was it Tempe PD that got you or ASU PD? Cops are not your friend when they think you are guilty.

Are you good to go on owning firearms still? I had a friend who got hit w/ misconduct witha weapon. His was sans holster in a vehicle after surviving a drive-by shooting. He didn't even return fire.

Learn from the lesson. Be a chamber checking nazi from now on.




Tempe.  I'm not ballsy enough to pull the gun on campus thing.

Yeah, I have an arrest but no conviction.

I certainly don't want to pull this one again.  You can only do it so many times before soemone gets hurt.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:55:38 AM EDT
[#27]

Quoted:

Quoted:
Lesson #1: Be careful, always practice firearms safety.

Lesson #2: Don't call the cops on yourself in and make a bad situation worse.



triburst, not only is it the law that all discharges in dwellings must be reported, it would have gone much worse for me had I not reported it.  Furthermore, had my neighbor been hurt it would have been in everyone's best interest to get medical help as soon as possible.

My concerns were not for myself.



That's a bullshit law. I can see it in multiple dwellings such as an apartment building, but not in a house. If you fire a round in your house and the projectile doesn't exit the residence, it's nobody else's business. Hell, I know people who have firing ranges in thier basements.

Did anyone else hear the shot?  Could have worked it out between you and the neighbor and payed for the damage?

I appreciate you sharing your experience with us. I'm not trying to sound critical. I'm just curious.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:56:13 AM EDT
[#28]
Glad no one got hurt, and you have my sympathy for the significant amount of trouble you have experienced. This could obviously have been WAY worse.

I read so many posts about ND's while dry firing.

Why dry fire at all? If you want to pull the trigger, why not load up and head to the range?

I'm sure I'm being too rigid for many here, but keeping your finger off the trigger until you sights are on the target seems like good policy to me.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:57:39 AM EDT
[#29]
tag
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:57:39 AM EDT
[#30]
Curious, will you get the gun(s) back they confiscated?


Link Posted: 2/10/2006 8:59:07 AM EDT
[#31]
triburst, she was the only one that heard it.  I learned a long time ago that shooting in a house is loud, but only if you are inside.

She was very upset and would have eventually called the police anyway, but like I said, that wasn't my concern.  It crossed my mind that I might be arrested, but I had to do everything to make sure no one bled out.

Everyone should have a plan on what to do if this happens.  I realized when I moved in 4 months prior that were sucha thing to happen, I would have to call the police on myself.  That made it easier when it happened.  Had she been hit, even 30 seconds could make the difference.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:01:27 AM EDT
[#32]

Quoted:
That's a bullshit law. I can see it in multiple dwellings such as an apartment building, but not in a house. If you fire a round in your house and the projectile doesn't exit the residence, it's nobody else's business. Hell, I know people who have firing ranges in thier basements.



I tend to agree with you.  If the bullet does not exit your residence.... you are guilty of discharging a firearm, which most municipalities have code against.

However, every time I find myself going 2MPH over the speed limit, I dont call the police to let them know, either.  

ASU1911 did the right thing in this case....  He could have tried to cover it up, see the neighbor is ok, make a deal with her to keep it quiet.  Then, as things break down... she gets upset, or her friends talk her into telling.... the thing blows up and one of the felonies might have stuck.  If it stayed in his residence.... I might try to keep it quiet.... if the po-po arent there in 10 minutes, they probably arent coming and you have time for the patch job.  

Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:02:10 AM EDT
[#33]

Quoted:
Glad no one got hurt, and you have my sympathy for the significant amount of trouble you have experienced. This could obviously have been WAY worse.

I read so many posts about ND's while dry firing.

Why dry fire at all? If you want to pull the trigger, why not load up and head to the range?

I'm sure I'm being too rigid for many here, but keeping your finger off the trigger until you sights are on the target seems like good policy to me.




Read it again.  This was not while dry firing.  Furthermore, people like Paul Howe recommend that 70% of your training be done dry.  It is cheaper and builds good habits for good shooting.



Quoted:
Curious, will you get the gun(s) back they confiscated?





One weapon wasconfiscated, it will be kept for 90 days in case of appeal.  Since the charges were dismissed with predjudice, I should be able to get it back sooner with the help of the court.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:03:01 AM EDT
[#34]

Quoted:
Glad no one got hurt, and you have my sympathy for the significant amount of trouble you have experienced. This could obviously have been WAY worse.

I read so many posts about ND's while dry firing.

Why dry fire at all? If you want to pull the trigger, why not load up and head to the range?



Dry fire is excellent practice. It allows you to focus on trigger control and sight alignment, which is more difficult when you are firing live ammo. I dry fire every day and it is not possible for me to go to the range on a daily basis.

These are the keys to safe dry fire practice.

1. Always check the chamber three times, visually and manually.

2. Don't have live ammo in the same room.

3. Concentrate. Don't do it while you are on the phone, internet, etc.

4. Have a safe backstop. The "I shot my TV" thread shows us that pistol rounds are not likely to exit the TV and thus could make a good backstop.

5. Have a cooling off period. Lay the weapon down for 15-20 minutes before you reload it.

Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:03:14 AM EDT
[#35]
Glad everyone is okay, and I respect that you are open about your mistake.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:04:09 AM EDT
[#36]
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:04:21 AM EDT
[#37]

Quoted:
Lesson #1: Be careful, always practice firearms safety.

Lesson #2: Don't call the cops on yourself in and make a bad situation worse.


+1.

WOndering why you felt compelled to invite the .gov into it?
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:04:30 AM EDT
[#38]

Quoted:
My lawyer firmly believes that Maricopa County prosecutes every felony they can to make it easier to prosecute future felonies.  Considering how hard it can be to function as a felon, this would cause more crime.  I don't know what to believe.



Isn't that where they have that fat fuck of a sherriff who makes every prisoner wear pink boxers?  Not that I care about the boxers, but everything else I've heard about the guy says he is a waste of oxygen.

Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:05:10 AM EDT
[#39]
I heard a story about a guy that let one go through his floor.  He was on the second story, of course.  So he was fishing around with a pencil trying to see if it went through.  Further investigation with a coat hanger revealed that it had gone through.  Only then did the guy (and his buddy) go downstairs.  The neighbor had been missed by mere feet as she sat at her couch, and was mystified when a coat hanger came through her ceiling.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:06:32 AM EDT
[#40]

Quoted:

Quoted:
Lesson #1: Be careful, always practice firearms safety.

Lesson #2: Don't call the cops on yourself in and make a bad situation worse.


+1.

WOndering why you felt compelled to invite the .gov into it?



I'll send you an IM shortly.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:06:58 AM EDT
[#41]
I once had an ND in Gainesville, FL.  We called the cops (because we were in an apartment complex).

When the officer arrived, we showed him the gun had been pointed in a safe direction and no one was injured.

He told me to be more careful, gave me his business card and left.

I think you got this treatment because it went into your neighbor's apt.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:07:17 AM EDT
[#42]

Quoted:
I heard a story about a guy that let one go through his floor.  He was on the second story, of course.  So he was fishing around with a pencil trying to see if it went through.  Further investigation with a coat hanger revealed that it had gone through.  Only then did the guy (and his buddy) go downstairs.  The neighbor had been missed by mere feet as she sat at her couch, and was mystified when a coat hanger came through her ceiling.







I feel ill after reading that....

Damn.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:08:47 AM EDT
[#43]
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:10:25 AM EDT
[#44]
Confession is good for the soul.

Glad everyone, incluyding you, got out OK. Sorry for the bad luck: I've had asimilar incident involving a firearm, my property, and a poorly informed patrol officer. Took months and US$ to get my pistol back, even though I was never charged. For you, this could've been a nigthmare. Thanks for reminding us all that w/ rights comes responsibility.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:14:21 AM EDT
[#45]

Quoted:
Thanks for reminding us all that w/ rights comes responsibility.



I couldn't say this better.  You are welcome.  That's why I wrote this (a friend asked me too, like I said, for this reason).
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:15:18 AM EDT
[#46]

Quoted:

Lesson #2: Don't call the cops on yourself in and make a bad situation worse.



NO SHIT!

I blasted a 1911 off years back when I lived in my apartment.  (a one story building)
Fortunately I had the weapon pointed to the ground.  No one ever said a thing.

But I guess if the bullet entered someone elses joint, your hands were tied.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:17:50 AM EDT
[#47]
He made a mistake and he lived up to it. Fortunately no one was hurt and he did what adults are supposed to do. There are consequences to ones actions and he paid the price. End of story.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:21:23 AM EDT
[#48]

Quoted:
150 years of military service?




To be a Space Shuttle Door Gunner, you must have a MINIMUM of 150 years of military experience.
J­UST KIDDING!

Thanks for having the balls to post your story. The fact that you posted it, took full responsibility for your actions as well as your actions immediately following the incident speaks volumes about your character, IMHO.

Glad you've got it behind you.
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:33:32 AM EDT
[#49]
Link Posted: 2/10/2006 9:40:21 AM EDT
[#50]

Quoted:
Sorry bud, I'm not one of those that will sing your praises nor one who will condemn you for making the mistake, I think you learned that ND lesson.

The problem you had was between you, your neighbor, and the apartment complex not the government.  The governments motivation isn't making things right nor your character development.  Its driven by laws blindly adhered to and prosecution motivated by politics.  You were charged for God knows what of the many reasons but mainly it was because you admitted guilt.  Review the constitution.  Nowhere does it say you have an obligation to admit to crime.  Making an accident right by those impacted is a moral obligation and one you should be proud of.  You only have to ask yourself if you really thought you yourself needed to be put in prison to protect society to have your answer on how you handled this.  

You are lucky.

Tj



Based on this.... what would you have done, TJ?
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