EAGLE RIVER -The 19-year-old man who fatally shot another man over the weekend in Eagle River thought the gun he was handling was not loaded, according to a WJFW report.
That detail was revealed Tuesday, when Jeremiah Solis appeared in Vilas County Circuit Court. Solis was being held in the Vilas County Jail on a preliminary charge of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon but has since been released, according to Vinelink. Official charges have not yet been filed.
Police said they were called late Sunday to a home on East Wall Street, where they found Solis holding a towel over 20-year-old Connor Stephens’ chest. Stephens, who had been shot, died at a local hospital a short time later, police said.
Solis told police he bought the handgun at a gun show in Eagle River over the weekend. He said he received no receipt and no background check was performed
Bob and Rocco Gun Shows hosted the event at the Eagle River ice rink and arena. Show director Ron Martin told Newswatch 12 over the phone that the show doesn’t have anything to do with how vendors at the show run their stands and simply provide the space.
The gun show featured more than 100 gun shops selling and buying firearms, ammunition and accessories.
Eagle River Police Chief Mark Vander Bloomen told WJFW investigators don’t know for sure where the handgun came from, but that gun safety was clearly an issue in this situation.
“You never point a firearm at someone. You have to treat that weapon like it’s loaded at all times,” Vander Bloomen said, “and I think a lot of the basic safety rules were obviously not paid attention to here.”
Vander Bloomen also told Newswatch 12 that police reached out to the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency to look into the handgun purchase. Eagle River police will not investigate the gun show because the event took place outside city limits.