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Police: Woman accidentally shot

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Police say Friday’s shooting that left a 19-year-old Huntington woman hospitalized was accidental, and the Fort Wayne man detained over the weekend now faces three felony charges.

Joseph Anthony Mills Jr., 23, is facing a Level 5 felony charge of carrying a handgun where the defendant has a prior felony conviction, a Level 6 felony charge of criminal recklessness committed with a deadly weapon and a Level 6 felony charge of possession of methamphetamine, according to a probable cause affidavit filed yesterday, March 11.

Police say the victim, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, was shot in her lower back after Mills Jr’s .22 caliber revolver accidentally discharged while he was sitting in the backseat, according to police reports. The incident reportedly occurred near the 200 block of W. State Street.

On March 9 at approximately 1 p.m., Huntington Police officers responded to Parkview Huntington Hospital’s (PHH) emergency room for a patient suffering from a gunshot wound. Police say the victim’s initials are B.M.F. but have not released her identity as of deadline Monday. B.M.F. was “quickly transported by ambulance to Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne,” but her condition remains unknown at this time, according to police reports.

Mills Jr. reportedly wheeled B.M.F. into PHH, accompanied by 29 year-old Dallas Renee Harris. Police say Mills Jr. and Harris then left in a black Dodge 4-door vehicle.

At approximately 1:45 p.m., police located the Dodge in front of Harris’ residence and detained Harris for questioning.

Police say they observed a red stain on the lower portion of the driver’s seat and a small hole with grey, circular discoloration near the stain.

Harris and B.M.F. reportedly told police that B.M.F. was driving Harris to her house on Drover Street when they stopped at a house on the 200 block of W. State Street to allow Harris to collect some property inside the home. The women said they heard a loud pop before Mills Jr. “‘freaked out’ and stated his gun accidentally went off and shot through the seat,” according to police reports.

Police report that Mills Jr. was convicted in 2017 on felony auto theft charges in Allen County and cannot be in possession of a handgun.

On March 9, officers wit the Fort Wayne Police Department’s Gang & Violent Crime Unit located Mills Jr. and transported him to Huntington County, where he was detained and interviewed.

Huntington detectives say Mills Jr. admitted to accidentally discharging the gun, which he allegedly acquired to protect himself from people in Fort Wayne who are mad at him, and disassembling the firearm before tossing parts of the gun along Airport Expressway in Allen County and into the river at the bridge on Bluffton Road and Broadway in Fort Wayne.

While being interviewed, police say Mills Jr. attempted to place a bag of methamphetamine from his boot into his mouth while detectives stepped out of the room because he did not want to “catch another charge,” detectives wrote.

Bail is set at $30,000, plus $3,000 cash. The court has not assigned an initial hearing as of deadline.