Walmart shooter won’t face charges

Zach Benoit
Billings Gazette
2/10/2010

Charges will not be filed against a man accused of shooting a co-worker in the forehead at the West End Walmart last summer, Yellowstone County Attorney Dennis Paxinos announced Wednesday.

In a written statement, Paxinos said the actions of Craig Schmidt, 49, who was accused of shooting 32-year-old Danny Lira during an altercation at Walmart last August, “are supported by Montana law, in both presenting a firearm and in its discharge” and that he was defending himself.

Schmidt was arrested at the scene of the shooting last Aug. 10 and was released from the county jail a short time later while the County Attorney’s Office investigated. He was released under Montana’s then-recently enacted House Bill 228, known as the “castle doctrine” law, which says a person has a natural right to use firearms in self-defense and doesn’t have to call law enforcement before using “justifiable” force.

Schmidt was facing possible charges of assault with a weapon, but the law brought about the need for investigators to gather more information about the incident to determine whether Schmidt believed his life was threatened.

The article continues at the Gazette.

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