A Mississippi man was recently charged after allegedly accidently shooting a firearm in a hotel room while drinking alcohol on March 21, the Culpeper Police Department says. No one was injured during the incident that occurred in the 700 block of Madison Road.
Joseph Allen Viars, 47, of Ocean Springs, was charged on a felony count of discharging a firearm into an occupied dwelling and a misdemeanor count of recklessly handling a firearm.
A magistrate ordered that Viars, who is in Culpeper for work-related purposes, be released on an unsecured bond.
Police officers were patrolling nearby when a hotel employee approached them regarding suspicious circumstances. The employee told the officers that a hotel guest reported hearing a loud noise then found a bullet embedded in an interior wall of their room.
The news release says Viars was drinking alcohol inside the hotel room while removing ammunition from his firearm and he accidentally shot one round into the wall.
"Viars reported the incident to hotel staff. He was on scene when officers arrived to investigate and was eventually taken into custody without incident. The involved firearm was located and secured. There is no evidence of any on-going threat to the community," the release says.
Police Chief Chris Jenkins noted that the incident serves as a reminder of the danger that comes in mixing alcohol and guns.
“I cannot say this often enough: mixing firearms and alcohol is a recipe for disaster,” Jenkins said. “I am extremely grateful that no one was injured or killed but all it takes is one stray round to make these circumstances tragic. If you are going to drink alcohol, be responsible.”