BEND, Ore. - A 21-year-old Northern California man who interrupted a family argument at a Sunriver rental home with a gun on New Year’s Day, firing a shot that put his wife in the hospital, was sentenced Tuesday to two weeks in jail and ordered to forfeit the weapon to police.
Mikhail Pitsul of Antelope, California, appeared before Deschutes County Circuit Judge Beth Bagley by video from the county jail, having pleaded guilty last week to two of the six charges against him – pointing a firearm at another and recklessly endangering another.
Ten friends and family members were staying at the rental home on Shagbark Lane when the incident occurred around 2 a.m. on Jan. 1. District Attorney John Hummel said the residents were intoxicated, and at the time charges were filed, called alcohol and guns "the worst possible combination."
Pitsul told the judge Tuesday he takes his gun with him when he leaves California and had it in his room when an argument broke out between his sister and brother-in-law, in which he became involved,
Pitsul said he was "fearing for my life" and, with his wife and sister in the room, he went and got the gun to try to calm things down and get his wife and sister out of the room.
He said a friend of his brother-in-law started to reach for the gun from behind, and in the struggle, it went off as his wife and sister were passing by to leave the room.
Pitsul's wife, Kelly Piluyeva, was struck in the thigh and was taken by Sunriver EMS to St. Charles Bend. Police said the bullet then went through the floor and struck a man, one of two people in bed in a first-floor bedroom, but did not penetrate and caused only a minor injury.
Along with the two-week sentence (with credit for time already served) and ordering the gun forfeited, the judge fined Pitsul $100, ordered no probation and said he can return to California after finishing out his jail sentence. She also noted that the others involved in the incident had waived all rights to be notified or present at the sentencing.
"In my experience, bringing a gun out has never, in the history of firearms, calmed down a situation," Bagley told Pitsul. "That would prove true in this case.
"It only served to amplify whatever problem was going on and lead to somehow, I'm told, your wife being shot inadvertently. So I would hope to think you might take away some lesson from this."