By Jason A. Smith
Charges against a man jailed after a weekend shooting in McDonough were bound over, Tuesday, to Henry County Superior Court.
Robert James Smith, 53, was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon after the shooting, Sunday, that left the male victim hospitalized.
Smith appeared Tuesday in Henry County Magistrate Court. Judge Robert Godwin bound the charges against him over to Superior Court, where bond in the case will be decided later. Smith's defense attorney, Edea Caldwell, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
McDonough Police Maj. Kyle Helgerson said police are not releasing the identity of the victim.
"We want to withhold his name until we have an opportunity to speak with him [ourselves]," Helgerson said. The victim talked briefly to uniformed patrol officers about the incident before he was taken to the hospital.
The shooting reportedly took place Sunday, at approximately 9:40 p.m., in Smith's home on Holly Smith Drive, Helgerson said.
"The victim, according to the suspect's story, arrived at his house asking about a particular item that had been exchanged in the past, wanting the ... item back," Helgerson said. "There was a verbal argument that ensued, and ultimately they were engaged in a physical altercation inside the residence. The victim was thrown to the ground during the altercation."
The lead investigator in the case, Detective Chris Morris, said the item which led to the argument was a space heater which belonged to the victim. He described the physical altercation as a "wrestling match" in the dining area of the house.
"The suspect indicated that the victim was trying to run his house ... disrespecting his house," said Morris. "The victim alleged that he was struck over the head, and when he went to the ground, he heard a shot. He didn't realize at the time that he had been shot, and then started feeling some pain."
The unidentified victim was later airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, where police said he is in stable condition.
Morris said, based on their investigation so far, police believe Smith used a gun to hit the victim, then fired two shots, with one of the bullets striking the victim's back.
"He was seen by some witnesses with the weapon in his hand after the shooting, standing over the victim," said Morris. "We believe it was hidden by the suspect, and we haven't been able to locate the weapon."
Smith told police the gun belonged to the victim, and that the victim was shot during the fight. However, Morris said, "the physical evidence at the scene showed a totally different story."
"The shooting couldn't have happened like [Smith] said, wrestling around on the ground," he said. He said the investigation by police indicated the suspect was standing when the victim was shot.
Morris said injuries sustained by the unidentified male victim are "not life-threatening," but the situation could have been much worse.
"A fraction of an inch one way or the other, and there could have been paralysis," he said. "It's still a pretty serious gunshot wound."