BILLINGS — Jazmine Kiana Pewitt is facing up to 11 years in prison for charges related to a weekend shooting at a Billings bar, where authorities say she dropped a gun that fired and struck another woman in the leg.
Pewitt, 22 years old, made her initial appearance Tuesday in Yellowstone County Justice Court. She faces charges of felony criminal endangerment and two misdemeanors related to improper concealed weapons possession.
Yellowstone County prosecutors said in court documents that Pewitt told police she was in the bathroom of Shooter's Bar at 1600 Avenue D carrying a gun in her pants.
She said when she dropped her pants in the stalls, the gun fell to the ground and went off, surprising her.
The owner of the bar, Michael Morgan, told MTN News after the incident that he believed the shooting was an accident.
Police found a 24-year-old woman at the bar with an obvious bleeding hole in her calf. She said she was washing her hands in the bathroom when she heard a loud bang and a shout from the stall. She looked down and saw a shell casing by her feet as she walked out, then noticed a warm wetness on her leg that turned out to be blood. She was taken to a hospital Saturday night for treatment of her injury.
Police found a .40 caliber shell casing in the bar but no gun. Pewitt said she received the gun from another man at the bar. That man said he owns a Smith and Wesson Sigma .40 caliber handgun, which was unloaded in his vehicle. The man did not say that he gave the gun to Pewitt, and decided he wanted a lawyer present. He has not been charged in connection with the incident.
Pewitt remains jailed in the Yellowstone County Detention Center as of Tuesday afternoon.
Here is the section of Montana Code concerning concealed weapons in bars:
45-8-328. Carrying concealed weapon in prohibited place -- penalty. (1) Except for legislative security officers authorized to carry a concealed weapon in the state capitol as provided in 45-8-317(1)(k), a person commits the offense of carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited place if the person purposely or knowingly carries a concealed weapon in:
(a) portions of a building used for state or local government offices and related areas in the building that have been restricted;
(b) a bank, credit union, savings and loan institution, or similar institution during the institution's normal business hours. It is not an offense under this section to carry a concealed weapon while:
(i) using an institution's drive-up window, automatic teller machine, or unstaffed night depository; or
(ii) at or near a branch office of an institution in a mall, grocery store, or other place unless the person is inside the enclosure used for the institution's financial services or is using the institution's financial services.
(c) a room in which alcoholic beverages are sold, dispensed, and consumed under a license issued under Title 16 for the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.
(2) It is not a defense that the person had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. A person convicted of the offense shall be imprisoned in the county jail for a term not to exceed 6 months or fined an amount not to exceed $500, or both.