Vernal man facing charges after threatening suicide, but shooting mother instead

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A Vernal man is facing criminal charges after he allegedly threatened suicide and accidentally shot his mother instead.

The 44-year-old man was charged with discharging a firearm, a third-degree felony, in 8th District Court on Wednesday.

According to a probable-cause statement, a Vernal police officer was dispatched to a home near 700 W. 100 North on Oct. 15, on a report that a woman had been shot by her son.

When police arrived, they found the woman, who had been shot in the knee hours earlier. The woman told officers that at 6 a.m., his son was intoxicated and was contemplating suicide. The two had been arguing, so the man went to his room and got a pistol.

He held the pistol to his head, an officer wrote in the probable-cause statement, and "the next thing [the mother] knew he shot her in the knee."

The man told officers that when he lowered the revolver from his head, he tried to lower the cocked hammer. He told officers that the hammer came down and the revolver fired, striking his mother's right knee.

The woman was transported to a local hospital for treatment.

His initial appearance has been set for Nov. 5.

Twitter: @jm_miller