House given probation
An 18-year-old who accidentally shot his friend in the abdomen was sentenced Friday to three years probation.
Andrew House shot Joshua Parker, 18, in a home on the 900 block of Silverwood Circle where he was housesitting for the owners. Parker had to undergo surgery at Barton Memorial Hospital to remove a .38-caliber bullet.
A probation report revealed that the bullet injured no organs but bruised a nerve. Parker was not able to walk for a week after he was shot and his hand and areas of his body near his wound are still partially numb.
In addition to probation, House was ordered to pay more than $600 in restitution to Parker. Three years in prison and a $10,000 fine was the the maximum punishment El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Suzanne Kingsbury could have given House.
A probation review hearing is scheduled Oct. 16 to see if House is abstaining from drugs and alcohol, attending alcohol counseling, participating in an employment program and working toward a General Education Development degree. If he violates these conditions, the judge can sentence him to prison or jail time.
“Either 16 months or some less amount of time in county jail depending on how serious the probation violation was,” said El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney Michael Atwell.
Atwell said House’s act was one of stupidity.
“It was almost a true accident, but he had no business with the gun or fooling with it,” he said. “There is in fact blame there. The brandishing causing serious bodily injury was the best way to describe the criminal quality of what he did. He had no anger, but it certainly wasn’t something to pay no attention to.”
House invited five friends over to the house to drink Mad Dog 20/20 and beer and hang out. He found the gun upstairs in the owner’s bedroom closet.
“I wanted to scare them and pretend to shoot a bullet into the ceiling,” House said, in an interview with probation officers before his sentencing. “I went down to get Josh, Jeff and Daniel and get them upstairs. I put a round into it while I was in the closet. When I put a round into it I turned it to make empty chambers before it would fire. I dry fired it into the ceiling. I put it by my side and I started talking to Jeff. I put up my left index finger, telling Josh one minute. After about 30 seconds, to one minute later, Josh grabbed the gun, not knowing what was going on I pulled back. (Reflex). I heard it fire. Josh said his side was itchy and when he pulled up his shirt I saw the wound.”
According to the probation report, Parker was surprised, too.
“I didn’t see him load it,” Parker said in the report. “I did see him firing it at the ceiling. I felt it was stupid. I didn’t realize the gun had been loaded. I heard a clap sound, but was more shocked when I felt powder on my hand. Then I felt the blood and looked. I felt a stinging. I ran downstairs and was the first person to call for an ambulance and police.”
The probation report also said the Parker family didn’t want House to be harshly punished for the crime.
“We all would like to see Andrew have a good chance,” Joshua’s mother said in the report.
Joshua’s mother, according to the probation report, was also sympathetic to House because his mother allegedly took an insurance settlement check that belonged to her son and moved to Texas. The check reportedly arrived while House was in jail.
The accidental shooting of Parker was one of two shootings in February. Thomas O’Connor, an off-duty security guard, is charged with the second-degree murder of 16-year-old Brad Parent. O’Connor, 23, is expected in court Oct. 6 to determine whether his case will be settled or go to trial on Nov. 29. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 35 years to life in prison.
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