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Details emerge from March homicide

by James Ehle - jehle@chronicle-tribune.com

Details on the March 29 shooting that killed an 18-year-old Huntington man were released in a probable cause affidavit by the Huntington City Police Department (HPD).

Brandon Lee Olivares was killed when a bullet from a 9mm revolver struck him in the chest, according to autopsy reports.

Xzavier A. McDonald, 18, told police he believed he had unloaded the revolver’s cylinder, but the gun fired a single round when McDonald laid it on a coffee table, according to an interview with McDonald and Detective Shane Blair of HPD.

A female witness in the residence “heard something hard hit the coffee table and a loud bang followed,” according to an interview by Detective Blair. The statement continued, “(the witness) stated she helped roll Mr. Olivares over and assisted in applying pressure to the wound in his chest.”

Olivares was pronounced dead at the scene after attempted life-saving efforts by police and first responders, according to police statements. Autopsy reports determined a gunshot wound to the chest as the cause of death.

Another witness who, according to the affidavit, did not see the incident but heard the gunshot, told Detective Blair “everyone was hanging out and there was no drama, fighting, yelling, or arguing.”

Officers reported they smelled a strong odor of marijauna when they arrived at the scene and found numerous glass smoking devices, in addition to a plastic bag containing “plant-like material.”

McDonald is facing a level 5 felony charge for reckless homicide, according to court records, defined as the reckless killing of another human being. The records also state McDonald faces a Class A misdemeanor charge for falsely informing police resulting in a hindrance to law enforcement, and Class B and C misdemeanor charges for possession of marijauna and possession of paraphernalia, respectively.

McDonald, who was 17 when the incident occurred, is being tried as an adult after a Huntington County judge Smith filed an order in favor of a petition filed by the Huntington County Prosecutor’s Office.

McDonald appeared in court for an initial hearing on Monday. Attorney Scott Alan Harter will represent McDonald in a pretrial hearing scheduled at Huntington Circuit Court on Sept. 30. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Pyclik will represent the state.