An 18-year-old Alexandra man who shot his friend in the leg with a high-powered air rifle after drinking to celebrate his birthday was "extremely emotionally upset".
Anthony McLellan appeared before Judge John Macdonald in the Alexandra District Court yesterday and admitted carelessly using an air rifle causing injury and discharging an air rifle with reckless disregard for the safety of others on July 29.
McLellan had been drinking with friends at an Alexandra pub and had become upset and agitated after receiving several text messages and phone calls.
After returning to a house in Alexandra, McLellan took an air rifle, which he had bought on his birthday, and began walking with it down Alexandra's main street, Centennial Ave.
He noticed a group of people in front of him and shot at them three to four times, stopping only when he realised it was his friends and not "others".
The group stopped outside the Alexandra Night n' Day, where McLellan shot a round into the air. Further down the street his friends attempted to disarm McLellan, but were forced to take cover behind a wheelie bin.
The victim attempted to walk towards McLellan to negotiate with him to put the air rifle down. Instead McLellan reloaded it and shot the victim above his left knee.
The victim was taken to Dunstan Hospital where he required surgery to remove the slug.
He could not walk without crutches and needed to take two weeks off work to recover.
Police found McLellan hiding at a house nearby.
Lawyer Tim Cadogan said alcohol was a predominant factor in the offending which had taken place when McLellan was "extremely emotionally upset".
"It's a night he couldn't regret more," Mr Cadogan said.
The judge remanded McLellan until October 16 for sentence to allow for a restorative justice meeting to be held and ordered a pre-sentence report for sentencing.
- The Southland Times