1999 case similar to recent shootingFor some, the Dec. 4 accidental and fatal shooting in Mitchell brought back painful memories of a similar incident from 12 years ago. For a retired local police officer, it was yet another reminder of the incompatibility of alcohol and guns.
By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic
For some, the Dec. 4 accidental and fatal shooting in Mitchell brought back painful memories of a similar incident from 12 years ago.
For a retired local police officer, it was yet another reminder of the incompatibility of alcohol and guns.
“Guns and alcohol do not mix,” said Denny Kaemingk, a former Mitchell police officer and detective who retired in 2000 after 24 years of service. “You’ve got to keep those separate.”
On the evening of Dec. 21, 1999, Shawn Matthew Donaldson, then 35, made a frantic call to 911 to report that he had accidentally shot friend Bryan Putzier, 49, in the chest.
According to a 911 transcript, Putzier provided his address to Donaldson during the call and then lost consciousness. Putzier later died of the gunshot wound.
“We were just goofing around with the gun and I shot it at him,” Donaldson told a 911 operator that evening. “This should’ve never happened.”
The statement closely resembles one by William Davis during his 911 call on Dec. 4 when he told the operator he “was being real dumb and just killed my friend.” Davis allegedly shot and killed his friend and fellow Mitchell Technical Institute student Matt Montag by accident, though police have called Davis’ actions reckless. Davis is charged with first-degree manslaughter and has been released from jail on bond while his case progresses.
Like Davis, Donaldson admitted to having consumed alcohol before the shooting took place, according to court documents.
There are some differences between the cases, though.
Davis has neither a juvenile nor an adult criminal record. Donaldson, however, was convicted of the second-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl in Beadle County in 1988 when he was 24.
He was incarcerated from Dec. 20, 1988, to March 1997. He was cited for failing to annually register as a sex offender in 1999.
In addition to consuming alcohol prior to the shooting, Donaldson also admitted to smoking marijuana before the incident.
Donaldson entered a guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter in 2000 (The Daily Republic was not able to determine why Donaldson was charged with second-degree manslaughter and Davidson is charged with first-degree manslaughter). He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Court records show Donaldson was released from the state penitentiary on Feb. 12, 2009.
Information obtained from the South Dakota Sex Offender Registry shows Donaldson is currently registered at a Sioux Falls address. An arrest warrant was issued last year for Donaldson in a hit-and-run case from Aug. 13.
Kaemingk, who now is chairman of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles and manages a local apartment complex, said the recent shooting incident has led him to remind his tenants to be careful with their firearms and keep them locked away if alcohol is present.
“You’ve got to keep those separate,” he said. “I hope people stop and think and know the heartache that’s going to happen from something like this.”
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