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Man who accidentally shot friend given suspended sentence

La Plata, MD - Ryan Joshua Washington, 22 of Upper Marlboro, was facing a nightmare in Charles County Circuit Court Wednesday, March 4 before Judge James H. West.

Washington was facing a charge of reckless endangerment stemming from an accidental shooting July 31, 2013.

The victim told West that the shooting was a “total accident,” saying Washington was his best friend and they were conducting training exercises, clearing a building, when the defendant’s shotgun discharged.

The blast ricocheted off a ceiling fan and sprayed him with buckshot.

“It was an accident,” he explained to the court. “He and his mother have been helping me with my hospital bill. Honestly, I don’t think putting him in jail would really serve any purpose. He’s a good kid. I’m asking the court to please have mercy.”

“There’s not much I can say more than that,” Public Defender John Getz told the court. “I don’t believe it was a serious injury.”

The victim stated that the injury, “messed up some nerves under my right arm. It was actually my weapon. I thought it was unloaded. I gave him the weapon. I blame myself. As a leader and certified instructor, I put him in that position.”

West handed down a three-year sentence.

“I’m going to suspend that and give you two years of unsupervised probation,” the judge said.

The court also required Washington perform 40 hours of community service.

The victim thanked the court for its leniency.

Contact Joseph Norris at joe.norris@thebaynet.com

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