A 28-year-old Columbus man appeared in Recorder's Court today to face the accusation that he shot a woman Saturday in a Luna Drive residence following an argument.
Derick Jones pleaded not guilty to the aggravated assault that left a woman with a gunshot wound in her right ankle.
Judge Michael Cielinski ordered the defendant be mentally evaluated by a county physician. The order came after individuals close to the suspect told the court that Jones is Marine combat veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The alleged shooter was issued a $15,000 bond under the condition that he not annoy, harass or intimidate the victim as well as avoid her workplace and residence. He was escorted to the Muscogee County Jail and the case was bound over to Superior Court.
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Columbus Police Officer Christian Gibney said police were called to a home in the 5000 block of Luna Drive at about 2 a.m. in response to reported shooting.
Police found a woman lying on the floor bleeding with a gunshot wound to the right leg and Jones with an cut on his left palm. The testifying officer said there was also a substantial amount of blood on the bed, down the hallway and on the master bathroom floor and sink.
Officials found the weapon on the counter in the master bathroom, Gibney said.
The woman was transported to the Midtown Medical Center, where an x-ray revealed the bullet struck the woman in her right ankle, traveled up her leg and landed behind her right knee cap. The bullet hit an artery in the back of her leg, police said.
The woman was transferred to a Macon hospital on the night of the incident. In stable condition, the victim is scheduled to undergo a second surgery today.
When questioned about the incident Saturday, Jones allegedly said it was an accidental, self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"He stated that he was trying to show her how to load the weapon and unload the weapon when she jumped to the dog barking and she squeezed the trigger, shooting herself in the right leg," Gibney said.
The victim gave police the same account of the incident, but an EMS official who treated the woman on the way to the Midtown Medical Center said she gave a different description of the shooting in the ambulance.
"She did state one time and one time only that while they were having the altercation, she was trying to leave and he would not let her leave," Gibney said.
Police didn't think the statements both individuals originally gave them added up, the officer said.
When authorities confronted the suspect about the shooting again, Jones allegedly said he and the woman got into an altercation and the woman slapped him while he was playing video games. The defendant told officials he yelled and cursed at the woman before she left the bedroom and returned with a .45-caliber pistol, Gibney testified.
Jones said the woman aimed the weapon at him before he took it and waved it around, according to the officer's testimony. While he was waving the gun around, a bullet fired out of the pistol and hit the woman, the suspect allegedly told police.
Police suspect the man placed a round in the chamber before incident and pulled the trigger, Gibney said.
Police questioned Jones about his own injury.
"After the second story that he gave, he stated that he doesn't know exactly how he injured his hand," Gibney said. "He may have injured it by cycling the round into the chamber and the slide of the weapon pinched his hand, causing it to bleed, or he could have been grazed by the round as it was fired out of the weapon.
"But when he described when the weapon went off, he demonstrated his hands being apart, not near each other."