Hotel show-and-tell leads to wild shot

Revolver discharged, arrest affidavit says; man wounded in next room

Zachariah McCullough

A man drinking beer and watching football with friends in a hotel room Sunday night was showing off a revolver when it accidentally went off, wounding a stranger in an adjoining room, according to an arrest affidavit.

Zachariah James McCullough, 26, 541 E. Valley Drive, was jailed early Monday on suspicion of third-degree assault, reckless endangerment, illegal discharge of a firearm and prohibited use of weapons.

Grand Junction police were called to Mesa Inn, 704 Horizon Drive, around 9:26 p.m., on a report of a shooting. Juan Lara, 20, ran to the front desk and was bleeding from his right shoulder, saying he was hit after hearing a loud bang. The bullet pierced the north wall of room 136, blasting through a mirror.

Lara’s injury was described as minor, consistent with a shrapnel wound.

A witness told police McCullough was among three friends who were in room 152, the affidavit said.

“(Witness) said they were all watching a football game and drinking beer when Zach pulled out a large revolver from a gun case,” the affidavit said. “Zach was displaying and boasting about the firearm and (witness) told him to unload it. Zach was manipulating the firearm when it suddenly discharged and blew a large hole in the south wall.”

McCullough fled in a sport-utility vehicle, the affidavit said.

Tracked down at his home, McCullough initially denied involvement, telling officers he “had no idea” about the incident.

“I told him,” an officer wrote in the affidavit, “that in a hypothetical situation where one discharged a firearm into a neighboring room in a motel, a reasonable human reaction to such a mishap would be that of concern that someone might have been hit. I left Zach to his thoughts.”

Sometime later, McCullough admitted mishandling the handgun, a .41-caliber Ruger revolver he said belonged to his grandfather, and told officers where to find the weapon, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit said McCullough is serving probation for an unspecified conviction. A public defender who spoke on McCullough’s behalf during a first court appearance Monday said McCullough is the father of five children, while his wife is expecting a sixth child. He was ordered jailed on $3,000 bond.


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