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Weapons charges dropped against victim in university shooting

A Michigan man who was shot at a fraternity house in September has been cleared of charges that he shot himself with a concealed firearm. After the court's dismissal of charges late in December, the defendant called the turn of events a “Christmas miracle.”

On Sept. 22, the man was at a fraternity house on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. It is not clear if he lived at the house or was visiting. According to an Oct. 22, report by MLive.com, police received reports of a shooting at the house early that morning.

The defendant, 20, was wounded in the leg, and a woman was hurt by flying glass. Police investigated, and later claimed that the gun involved in the shooting belonged to the injured man himself, though they had not found the gun at that time. The defendant was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and reckless use of a firearm.

The defendant hired a criminal defense attorney. The attorney launched her own investigation, and found evidence that quickly contradicted the government’s version of events. She found that her client never possessed a gun, and established that someone else shot him.

It is not clear what led police to erroneously conclude that the defendant was the perpetrator, not the victim, of the September shooting. However, this case is a good example of how a defense attorney will not take the prosecution’s claims at face value. An outside investigation will often reveal evidence that the police missed, or did not take seriously, but offers a more accurate picture of what really happened.

Source: MLive.com, “Charges dropped in September frat house shooting,” Aaron Mueller, Dec. 23, 2013

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