Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Steamboat Springs A wayward rifle shot that endangered sleeping children landed an unsuspecting hunter in the Routt County Jail Wednesday.
Geoffrey Paul O'Leary, 53, was aiming for an elk Tuesday morning when one of his rounds blew through the bedroom window of a North Routt residence.
Two children were sleeping in the room and awoke to the sound of breaking glass.
They alerted their parents, who called police.
The Routt County Sheriff's Office and Division of Wildlife searched the area and discovered five empty shell casings a few hundred yards from the house.
"There was no doubt in our minds that one of those shells came (from O'Leary)," Sheriff John Warner said.
The residence at 49975 Moonhill Lane stands about 200 yards from the Elk River. Police found O'Leary gutting his fresh kill on the other side of the river. When police questioned him about the incident, O'Leary said he did not realize the residence was there.
O'Leary, who lives in North Routt, admitted to shooting the animal but was unaware he was putting anyone in danger, Warner said.
He was about 300 yards from the house when he fired at the elk.
The bedroom window was directly above a bed. The rifle shot sent glass flying over one of the children. Neither child was injured.
O'Leary faces charges of reckless endangerment, as well as stiff fines and the loss of his hunting privileges for shooting a bull elk.
He was licensed to shoot a cow elk.
"Today is just my day," O'Leary told police. "To top it off, I shot a spike bull when I thought I had shot a cow elk."
He could lose his hunting license for a year and fined up to $1,400, Warner said.
O'Leary was legally hunting on private land.
He was released from the Routt County Jail on a $2,000 bond.