Source: Sherman Publications

News
Former reserve cop, guilty of reckless firearm discharge

by Susan Bromley

November 23, 2011

A man who fired a gun through a wall of his Brandon Township home while discussing with his wife their pending divorce has been found guilty of reckless use/discharge of a firearm.

A jury deliberated less than an hour Nov. 21 before delivering the guilty verdict for Zonnie Jay Fritsche, a former reserve police officer for the Village of Lake Orion. The trial began Nov. 17 in the courtroom of 52-2 District Court Judge Joseph Fabrizio. Reckless discharge of a firearm is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail or $500 in fines. Fritsche is free on bond pending his sentencing Jan. 5.

According to police reports, Brandon deputies were dispatched to the 4600 block of Stanton Road at 4:28 p.m., Nov. 18, 2010 on a report of shots fired. The 9-1-1 caller, Fritsche’s wife, said her soon-to-be ex-husband had discharged a handgun inside the house and into a bedroom wall. She did not know if it was accidental or not.

The complainant said she was sitting on the bed in the master bedroom while she and Fritsche discussed the division of property in their pending divorce. Their two daughters, 10 and 7, were in another room in the home. The complainant said Fritsche was in and out of the bedroom while they talked, pacing up and down the hallway. She asked him to take their youngest daughter to a friend’s house and while he was out of the room, she heard the gun go off. He was standing in the doorway, with gunsmoke surrounding him, the complainant said.

Fritsche told police he asked his wife if she was OK. She said he placed the gun in the top dresser drawer. Their daughters came to the bedroom after hearing the gunshot and were “very scared.” Fritsche’s wife demanded he put the gun in the safe, then followed him and emptied the rounds into her hand. She said he fished with a coat hanger in the wall trying to find the bullet.

The crime lab responded and determined the round went through the wall at a 27-degree downward angle and the projectile was recovered from the sub-floor of the master bedroom. During an interview with police, Fritsche said he was not trying to hurt his wife, that the gun misfired while he was trying to put it in his waistband. He acknowledged the weapon could only have discharged if his finger had been on the trigger.

Fritsche had a valid license to carry a concealed pistol, and said he is a reserve police officer for the Village of Lake Orion on medical leave after a traffic accident three years ago. Police removed 38 assorted handguns and long guns from the home as a precautionary measure.

Fritsche’s wife obtained a personal protection order against her husband. The Oakland County Gun Board was advised of the investigation and his CPL was suspended in January by the board.