A Minnesota man has been charged with reckless discharge of a firearm after hunting deer in central South Dakota, where an investigation showed a bullet traveled 900 yards into a home's bathroom and shattered a shower door.
William Desmet is scheduled for his initial appearance in the Lyman County Courthouse at 9 a.m. Jan. 28. The 40-year-old Marshall, Minnesota, man was charged with the class 1 misdemeanor after hunting deer on Nov. 14. During a phone conversation, he told a South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks conservation officer that he "never would have meant" to hit something and that he didn't know which building was struck by the bullet.
Court documents say GF&P Conservation Officer Diana Landegent investigated the case with Bureau of Indian Affairs, Lower Brule Wildlife and Lyman County Sheriff's Department. She received a call on Nov. 15 about a shooting incident at a residence.
When Landegent arrived, two eyewitnesses who were bow hunting the day before said they saw three people in a hunting group. They recounted what they saw and the direction members of the hunting party were shooting.
Landegent also interviewed the family of the home where the bullet struck, and she determined it damaged a shed and the house. According to court documents, the bullet traveled through the shed and into the northeast portion of the house -- the location of the bathroom -- into the standup shower, shattering the glass shower door, going through another wall into a bedroom and hitting a dresser. The bullet was laying on the carpet underneath the dresser in the bedroom.
"Last night when I was going to take a bath, I noticed there was a hole by the faucet," the homeowner told Landegent. "So that's when I really noticed. I started checking and found out it was a bullet. It was kind of scary."
The investigation also included a phone call with one other member of Desmet's hunting group, David Desmet.
"It's not like we are trying to shoot anything," David Desmet, Will's uncle, told Landegent. "We're trying to shoot straight at our targets all the time. The landowner called me on my way home and said we must have been shooting high and shot somebody's shed. We weren't intentionally shooting at anybody."
Court documents say William Desmet shot a 4 by 4 mule buck. "If something did happen, like I said pure bad luck, I think," Desmet said via court documents. "I definitely wouldn't shoot in a bad direction, you know."
A class 1 misdemeanor in South Dakota carries up to a one-year prison sentence and a fine of $2,000, if convicted.
Both Landegent and Desmet declined comment for this story.