A Fort Wayne man arrested in connection with a shooting in Huntington said his revolver accidentally discharged as he rode in the back seat of a vehicle.
Police were dispatched just after 1 p.m. to the emergency room at Parkview Huntington Hospital, where a 19-year-old woman was brought in, suffering from a gunshot wound to the lower back. According to a probable cause affidavit, she was wheeled in by a man – later identified as Joseph A. Mills, Jr. and another woman.
Mills and the woman left after dropping off the victim. She was transferred to a Fort Wayne hospital for treatment and listed in serious condition.
A short time later, police went to the woman’s home and found the car that was used to drop the victim off at the hospital. Inside, police spotted a blood stain and a bullet hole in the seat, according to the affidavit.
In interviews with police, the woman and the victim both said the victim was giving her a ride to her home, with Mills in the back seat, when they heard “a loud pop.” Mills then “freaked out” and said his gun accidentally went off and shot through the seat, into the victim’s lower back, the affidavit said.
The victim then drove to the hospital.
Mills is a convicted felon and cannot legally have a handgun.
Mills was taken into custody by the Fort Wayne Police Department’s Gang and Violent Crime Unit later Saturday.
In an interview with police, Mills confessed to accidentally discharging his .22 caliber revolver into the back of the driver’s seat and subsequently into the victim’s back, the affidavit said.
Mills told police he got the gun from a friend and has had it for about six weeks. He said he knew he wasn’t allowed to be in possession of a gun but he said he needed it for protection because “people in Fort Wayne do not like him,” the affidavit said.
After the shooting, Mills said he freaked out because he knew he was going to prison. He said he disassembled the gun, threw the hammer into a ditch off Fort Wayne’s Airport Expressway and the rest of the gun into the St. Marys River near Bluffton Road and Broadway in Fort Wayne, the affidavit said.
While police were holding Mills for questioning, he took a small package of meth out of his boot and put it in his mouth, police said, according to the affidavit.
Mills faces charges of felony Carrying a Handgun without a License, Criminal Recklessness while armed with a deadly weapon and Possession of Methamphetamine.