The woman arrested over the weekend after someone was shot at Shooters Casino and Sports Bar Saturday night told police a gun she had been carrying went off after she dropped it on the bathroom floor.
Jazmine Pewitt, 22, appeared in Yellowstone County Justice Court on Tuesday facing one felony charge of criminal endangerment, a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed firearm, and a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited place.
Pewitt told police that a gun that had been hidden in her pants went off after it fell from her pants to the floor in the restroom Saturday night at Shooters.
The 24-year-old victim was washing her hands when she heard a loud bang sound, according to charging documents. She saw a shell casing on the ground as she walked out of the restroom and shortly after exiting the restroom "her leg felt warm and wet," charging documents state she told police.
"She reached down and noticed her hand was covered in blood," according to documents. She was taken to the hospital.
The victim told police she saw a woman wearing a gray sweatshirt with her hair in a bun leave the restroom after her.
Police found Pewitt after receiving a phone call from someone on the 200 block of Custer Avenue who heard an argument between a female and two other people.
"They were yelling things like, 'the gun just went off,' and, 'I shot someone but there are no cameras,'" court documents say. Pewitt agreed to waive her rights and speak to officers, after which point she told them the gun fell from her pants onto the floor and went off. She then wiped off the gun and left it, she said. She said the gun was not hers.
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Shooters owner Mike Morgan told The Billings Gazette on Monday that his sympathy was with the victim but that he was frustrated the Billings Police Department had labeled the incident a shooting, a word he said carries connotations that don't match what happened.
"It wasn't a fight, it wasn't a walk-into-a-place-and-gun-down," Morgan said.
Morgan said he usually spends around 16 hours a day at the bar and that the incident was out of character for his business. There are sometimes fights at the bar, but Morgan said they typically happen around closing time. Police said in a social media post that Saturday night's shooting happened at about 10:40 p.m.
"We've got plenty of safety measures. We've got plenty of bouncers. We don't have activity like this in the bar, especially at 10 o'clock," Morgan said.
Reading comments on social media from people swearing off his bar and calling it a dangerous place was upsetting, Morgan said, adding that the negative publicity had a clear effect seen in the smaller-than-normal crowd Sunday.
"We normally have 50 to 75 people in my bar on Sunday," Morgan said. "We had five yesterday."
If convicted on the felony charge, Pewitt faces up to 10 years in prison or a fine of $50,000, or both.