DA: Eagle River shooting suspect thought handgun was emptySubmitted: 09/05/2017
Story By Allie Herrera

DA: Eagle River shooting suspect thought handgun was empty
EAGLE RIVER - Nineteen-year-old Jeremiah Solis thought the gun with which he shot and killed 20-year-old Connor Stephens was actually empty. That information came out for the first time in court Tuesday.

Solis is facing homicide charges for the deadly shooting in Eagle River over the weekend.

Police responded to 421 East Wall Street late Sunday night and found Solis holding a towel over the victim's gunshot wound.

"Jeremiah Solis continued to assist in rendering aid to Mr. Stephens until EMS arrived. The victim was transported to Eagle River Memorial Hospital," said Vilas County District Attorney Martha Milanowski in Vilas County Court.

Solis told police he purchased that handgun this past weekend at the gun show in Eagle River. He said he received no receipt for his purchase and no background check was performed.

Sunday night, he brought the gun to a home on East Wall Street. Milanowski said she believes Solis's brother was living in the apartment there.

Solis showed off the gun to some friends who were at the house. Milanowski said those inside the house admitted to smoking marijuana, playing video games, and having some drinks. Solis told police he was "playing with it" and thought the gun was empty.

"Thereafter, picked it up again and began playing with it. His words. He pulled the slide back, didn't see a bullet fly out, so he thought the gun was empty. While he was continuing to hold it, he pulled the trigger, it went off, and a bullet hit Stephens in the shoulder," said Milanowski.

Solis's attorney says he's a high school graduate who just moved back to Eagle River a few months ago. He has family living in the area. He also said Solis has no past criminal record.

Milanowski said there is also a potential for other homicide charges. Solis was originally held on the charge of homicide by negligent handling of a dangerous weapon.

"Solis admits he purchased the semi-automatic handgun. He admits he brought it to the residence at 421 Wall Street. He admits he smoked marijuana, and he admits he had the gun in his hand and pulled the trigger, but it also indicates he believed it was empty," said Milanowski.

Solis was released on $20,000 signature bond and has to follow certain conditions while out on bond, which include following a curfew while living with his mom in Eagle River, having no contact with the witnesses or the victim's family, and turning over all weapons to the Sheriff's Office.

Solis is due back in court on September 25.

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