CLARION - "There are some days when being the district attorney just stinks," Clarion County District Attorney Drew Welsh said Feb. 7. "This is one of those days."
Making it a "bad, bad day" for Welsh was the sentencing of 19-year-old Uri Cameron Hummel who fired a gun into the apartment below his own, nearly striking a 6-year-old child.
Hummel, of Clarion, entered guilty pleas to possessing a firearm with altered serial number, a second-degree felony; discharging a firearm into an occupied building, a third-degree felony; and recklessly endangering another person, a second-degree misdemeanor, at 8:46 p.m. Aug. 2, 2019, along Leatherwood Drive in Clarion Borough.
Charges of aggravated assault, theft, receiving stolen property and altering a serial number on a firearm, all second-degree felonies; simple assault as a second-degree misdemeanor; and summary criminal mischief were not prosecuted.
Under the terms of a plea agreement, the sentences for the offenses will run concurrent for an aggregate sentence of 36 to 72 months in a state correctional facility.
Hummel will be given credit for 188 days he has already served in the Clarion County Jail.
"We thought you had really turned your life around," said Welsh told Hummel. "There are no winners here today."
Senior Judge James Arner said he hoped Hummel would get the help he needed for his problems.
"We gave you the very best we had to offer," Arner told Hummel.
Arner said that everyone was proud of Hummel when he graduated from George Junior Republic, a private treatment institution.
Arner said he would not oppose a sentence to a boot camp but noted that the Department of Corrections would make the final decision.
According to police reports and court documents, Clarion Borough Police responded to the location for reported gunshots in one of the apartments.
Police located the suspect later identified as Hummel in an upstairs apartment.
Police handcuffed Hummel. Hummel told police he is on probation but denied any involvement with a firearm. Hummel said the noise heard by neighbors happened when he threw an object, causing it to break.
Hummel again denied having a firearm in the apartment.
State police and Clarion University Public Safety officers arrived at the scene and Clarion Borough Police Officer William Scheckler searched for the alleged firearm.
A neighbor allegedly told police she was in Hummel's apartment attempting to calm him down. The woman said Hummel was waving around a firearm at the time.
The woman allegedly said Hummel fired the handgun into the floor of the apartment, which is located above another apartment.
There was a 6-year-old child in the downstairs apartment at the time Hummel allegedly fired the shot.
Hummel allegedly told a state police trooper where the handgun was hidden outside near a wooded area.
Hummel maintained he had placed the firearm there a few days earlier and continued to deny he had the weapon in the apartment that night.
Police were able to identify where a bullet came through the ceiling into the lower apartment.
Police were unable to locate the gun.
A male approached police and told them he had witnessed Hummel bury something near the woods. Police were unable to find the gun.
A female relative of Hummel's arrived at the scene and told police Hummel she had seen Hummel handling a gun earlier that day.
The woman encouraged Hummel to cooperate with police.
Hummel told police he had indeed put the handgun in the woods days earlier but had retrieved it and then hidden it again.
Hummel was then transported to the police station.
Hummel allegedly told police he was afraid someone had put out a hit on him and he needed the handgun for protection.
Hummel said firing the gun into the floor was a stupid thing to do.
Hummel allegedly said he took the gun from a relative's home in Leeper without the relative knowing about it.
Hummel then said the gun went off when he was attempting to unload it.
The gun was eventually recovered from the wooded area and police found the spent bullet on a couch about six feet from where the child had been sitting at the time.