RICH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — It was supposed to be an enjoyable night. Three friends went hunting in Lapeer County’s Rich Township, then one of them ended up shot and another in jail.
It happened at a property off of Kelch Road. The men were hunting small game and scouting the area in preparation for deer hunting season. As the night ended, they were unloading their weapons.
“One individual thought his gun was unloaded. It wasn’t,” said Jeremy Howe, Lapeer County Undersheriff.
Howe says 30-year-old Andrew Brill accidentally shot one of his friends. He then left the scene and that raised questions. Why did he leave? What did he have to hide? Was this really an accident? Investigators say they believe they have answers.
“He has a child," Howe said. "He wanted to say goodbye to his child. He believed he was going to be locked away for a long time."
Brill called investigators after saying goodbye to his young child and turned himself in. It turns out Brill has a felony record. When he was 20 he was convicted of attempted criminal sexual conduct in the third degree with an underage teen. Under the law he should not have had a gun. Plus, investigators say he had alcohol in his system.
He faces numerous firearm charges including careless discharge causing injury.
First responders rushed his friend to McLaren Hospital in Lapeer. The friend was later transported to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit where he is in stable condition.
With many preparing to hunt, Undersheriff Howe says there is no excuse for such accidents.
“Never ever point a weapon at something you don’t intend to shoot," Howe said. "Obviously he thought the gun was unloaded. It was not."
Brill is in the Lapeer County Jail, held on $10,000 bond.