ROUND HILL — A man was charged with reckless handling of a firearm after being accused of firing a shot about 40 yards away from parents and children at a bus stop.
The incident was reported around 11:45 a.m. on Nov. 20. Two witnesses told police that 82-year-old Clemmitt Thornton Smith was aiming at his mailbox, according to an email from Lt. Keith Covert, Frederick County Sheriff's Office spokesman. They said he fired a .22-caliber rifle from the front porch of his home in the 100 block of Layside Drive.
One witness said Smith pointed the rifle in the direction of the bus stop, according to Deputy Michelle R. Kitts' criminal complaint. Kitts wrote that when Smith was questioned by Deputy J.T. Fletcher, he confessed.
"Smith admitted to discharging his gun, but stated that he was shooting at a snake by the creek," Kitts wrote. "Mr. Smith became very angry and told Deputy Fletcher to get off his property."
Covert said the rifle wasn't confiscated because Smith was charged with a misdemeanor and not a felony. He said since Smith admitted to firing the rifle, it no longer had evidentiary value. Covert added that whether guns are seized in incidents involving misdemeanor charges is decided on a case-by-case basis.
"There was no immediate threat when the investigation was conducted," Covert said. "Therefore the rifle was not confiscated."
Smith was charged, but not arrested. His arraignment is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday in Frederick County General District Court.