Three men and a woman have been charged with felonies for seriously wounding a motorcyclist at least a quarter-mile away from where the foursome squeezed off dozens of rounds while target-shooting with handguns behind a home in Carver County.
Blake A. Martin, 27, of rural Carver, was charged with intentional discharge of a firearm and endangering safety and was the one among the four whose gunfire struck 41-year-old Troy Mack, of Minneapolis, in the chest on June 25 as he headed south on County Road 40, according to County Attorney Mark Metz.
The others target shooting with Martin and also charged Monday by summons with the same offense were: Martin's father, William A. Martin, 56, of Victoria; and Ian A. Stinson, 21, and Jasmine S. Morrow, 22, both from Oak Ridge, Tenn., and in Minnesota visiting family.
The gunshot that struck Mack while he was riding among a group of motorcyclists caused "significant injury" to an artery that supplies blood to his right arm and fractured his right shoulder blade, Metz said in announcing the charges.
"He could have died," Metz said in an interview Wednesday.
Metz added that Mack was fortunate the 9-millimeter bullet traveling downhill from Blake Martin's Glock 9 first hit the motorcycle windshield, slowing its velocity as Mack passed anywhere from roughly 1,200 to 1,900 feet beyond the silhouette target the shooters had in their sights at the home southwest of Carver in the 16300 block of Homestead Road.
While acknowledging that hunting and target shooting are perfectly legal in rural areas of the county, Metz emphasized that "every shooter remains 100% responsible for assuring that they have a sufficient backstop before shooting commences."
Shirley Mack said the incident has been "life changing" for her son as he copes with nerve damage in one of his hands. He also must remain on blood-thinning medication for the rest of his life, she said.
"He hasn't gone back to work" at a transmission shop, she said Wednesday. "It's been seven weeks."
Roughly four dozen and possibly more rounds were fired in all, according to the charges. Stinson and Blake Martin each shot about 15 rounds, followed by roughly 12 by William Martin and then an unspecified number by Morrow.
All four have been scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 13. Blake Martin said Wednesday that he was unaware that he and others have been charged and was not ready to respond to the allegations. Messages were left with William Martin and Stinson, while contact information for Morrow was not immediately available.
A day after the shooting, Sheriff Jason Kamerud said of Mack: "Interestingly, he didn't fall down. He felt whatever what it was, realized he was bleeding, pulled over and put the kickstand down and said, 'Hey, I've been shot.' "
According to the charges:
A motorist in the area who learned that Mack had been shot located the shooters, told them they wounded someone and asked them to stop shooting.
A sheriff's detective went to the higher-elevation property and saw the silhouette target perched atop a pile of logs, with woods as a backdrop. The gunfire also passed over the property of another residence before reaching the road.
A man in the yard of that property "heard rounds going over his head and through the trees," the charges read. "[He] yelled up the hill to stop shooting."
Damage to a garage at the neighboring home indicated that it was hit by a ricocheted bullet.
Blake Martin told the detective that he believed they were shooting away from the road after having first "checked it on Google maps."
The bullet that hit Mack was surgically removed and turned over to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which eliminated that it came from the guns being fired by William Martin, Stinson or Morrow.