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One charge dropped in gun shooting

By Staff | Mar 23, 2009

One of two felony charges against a Blue Earth man accused of firing a rifle at another man has been dismissed.

Ryan Harlan Wirkus, 28, was originally charged with second-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and discharging a firearm within a municipality.

On Monday, Faribault County Attorney Brian Roverud told Judge Douglas Richards the assault charge was being dropped because of additional investigation by authorities.

“I can’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he was shooting at somebody,” says Roverud.

Defense attorney Bill Grogin also requested that the second charge be dismissed.

But, Richards says probable cause exists for the firearm charge — which is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of two years and a $5,000 fine.

Grogin asked the judge the next hearing held be an arraignment because he believes the case will be resolved.

According to a court complaint, Blue Earth police responded to a 911 call at 2:44 a.m. on Jan. 4 from a man who said Wirkus fired a rifle at him after giving Wirkus a ride home.

Two neighbors, says the complaint, also contacted the Faribault County Sheriff’s Department to report hearing a gun shot fired.

Initially, police said they were not sure if Wirkus had actually fired a shot at the man.

There also are conflicting versions as to where the gun came from. In the complaint, Wirkus admits taking the gun out of the man’s car trunk.

Wirkus was taken into custody and later released after posting bail, which was set at $1,000 cash or a $20,000 bond without conditions, or a $10,000 bond with conditions.