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November 13, 2008 3:21 am

Saturday shooting by-product of bad blood

Written by Tribune Staff

Police still searching for handgun

A Powell man has been charged with attempt to cause injury to another using a deadly weapon after he threatened another Powell man and then fired his handgun into the ground early Saturday night.

There apparently was bad blood between the two men and it boiled over, resulting in one shot being fired into the street, Sgt. Alan Kent of the Powell Police Department said Saturday.

According to a Park County Circuit Court affidavit, Franklin Lee Miller, 57, of Powell had an argument with Christopher Downey outside Downey's home on South Clark Street at around 5 p.m. Saturday. Miller pointed the gun at Downey's head, then pointed it at the ground and fired his weapon. The bullet ricocheted off the asphalt and struck Downey.

Miller left the scene on foot and later surrendered to the police, the police report said.

“It wasn't fatal, and the suspect gave up peaceably,” Kent said.

Police still are searching for a Colt model 1911 semi-automatic .45 caliber handgun. Powell Police used the CodeRED emergency communication system to call 106 households to notify them of the missing handgun. Of the 106, 66 homes were reached.

“The suspect may have discarded it in the area and it may still be loaded,” said the police report.

If anyone finds the handgun, they are asked not to disturb it and to contact the Powell Police immediately. All neighbors who may have witnessed any part of this event are asked to contact Powell Police Investigator Dave Brown at 754-2212.

Downey was treated at Powell Hospital and was released. Miller was arrested at about 7 p.m. for aggravated assault and transported to the Park County jail to be held for arraignment, according to the police report.

According to felony information from Circuit Court, Miller has been charged with attempt to cause or intentionally or knowingly cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon. Under Wyoming statute, that is classified as a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

On Saturday evening, Powell Police and an officer from the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation searched the scene of the crime for evidence. Firefighters from the Powell Volunteer Fire Department also scoured the area and provided powerful lights to aid in the search.

Kent said he appreciated the assistance from the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Park County Sheriff's office, Powell Hospital ambulance crew and Powell Volunteer Fire Department.