Reckless endangerment charge for Bismarck man

Ethan Clark, Bismarck, is charged with reckless endangerment and discharging a firearm in city limits. The charges are related to a December 2019 shooting on the North Dakota State College of Science campus, Wahpeton.

A Bismarck man is facing two misdemeanor charges related to a December 2019 shooting in Wahpeton.

Ethan Arrow Clark, 23, is charged with reckless endangerment, a class A misdemeanor, and discharging a firearm in city limits, a class B misdemeanor. He is scheduled to appear Monday, March 16 in Richland County District Court for a misdemeanor dispositional conference.

Through an investigation by the North Dakota State College of Science Police Department and Wahpeton Police Department, Clark is accused of creating a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death to another. The investigations, admissions from Clark and the victim’s statement resulted in Clark also being accused of discharging the firearm.

On or about Dec. 9, 2019, Clark and the victim were at a townhome on the NDSCS campus, Wahpeton. Alex Fischer, Underwood, Minnesota, was named in court documents as the victim. Fischer subsequently told Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. that he and Clark were roommates.

At some point, as Clark and Fischer were standing next to each other, Clark allegedly took a handgun out from his waistband.

“The firearm involved is a Colt 1911 handgun,” documents state. “In order to discharge, two different safeties would need to be disengaged. Further, a round would need to be in the chamber, the hammer cocked and the trigger pulled.”

Eight other people were in the residence when the handgun was present, documents continue. Firearms and other weapons are prohibited from the NDSCS campus, including residences.

“While in the defendant’s hand, the gun was pointed at Alex Fischer and discharged. The bullet passed through Alex Fischer’s right hand, then through his abdomen before fracturing his femur,” documents state.

Fisher was taken to the emergency room at CHI St. Francis, Breckenridge, Minnesota. He was subsequently flown by Life Flight to receive medical care in Fargo.

NDSCS and the Wahpeton Police Department initially stated the event was or appeared to be an accidental discharge of a firearm.

“The victim sustained non-life threatening injuries. The college said there is not an ongoing threat to the college of the Wahpeton community,” Daily News previously reported.

Clark has entered not guilty pleas to both charges. He is represented by Charles Sheeley. Richland County Assistant State’s Attorney Casey Moen represents the prosecution. Judge Bradley Cruff presides.

The maximum penalty for a class A misdemeanor is 360 days imprisonment, a $3,000 fine, or both. The maximum penalty for a class B misdemeanor is 30 days imprisonment, a $1,500 fine, or both.

Clark’s initial court appearance, scheduled for Dec. 30, 2019, was cancelled. Sheeley filed a waiver accepted by the court, Moen said. A misdemeanor dispositional conference scheduled for Feb. 10, 2020 was cancelled because the State’s Attorney’s office had presented Sheeley with a sentencing recommendation.

“The defense needed more time to discuss the sentencing offer with the defendant,” Moen said.

Court records show Clark is also facing two class B misdemeanor charges in Burleigh County, North Dakota. He has been charged with driving under the influence, first offense, as well as reckless driving. Both charges are related to a Nov. 7, 2019 event. A misdemeanor jury trial is scheduled to begin April 29, 2020.

Because the December 2019 shooting was not processed at the Richland County Jail, a law enforcement center employee said, no booking photo of Clark was taken. He is not currently confined in the jail.

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