St. Paul man gets 7 years in Fourth of July shooting of boy, 14, over fireworks
ST. PAUL A man who fired his gun into a Fourth of July crowd, hitting a 14-year-old boy, was sentenced this morning to seven years and two months in prison. Cary Francis Schmidt, 51, declined to speak when Ramsey County District Judge Teresa Warn...
A man who fired his gun into a Fourth of July crowd, hitting a 14-year-old boy, was sentenced this morning to seven years and two months in prison.
Cary Francis Schmidt, 51, declined to speak when Ramsey County District Judge Teresa Warner gave him his chance.
But Gunnar Footh's father, John Footh, used powerful words to describe the experience of watching his son almost die the night of July 4, 2009.
"As his lung collapsed, he went into a convulsion, not able to draw normal breaths," he told the court. "In the ambulance, while in shock, he nodded off three times, and three times I jerked his arm to bring him back. Bring him back from the point of death, I believe."
That was later confirmed by the ambulance paramedic, Footh said.
Gunnar, a straight-A student who wants to be a scientist, is doing well -- though bullet fragments remain in his body, his father said.
The family urged Warner to sentence Schmidt to the maximum under state guidelines, which would have been more than 8 1/2 years.
Schmidt's attorney, Brian Karalus, argued for the minimum, about six years.
Schmidt was convicted Oct. 15 of first- and second-degree assault after choosing a trial in front of the judge rather than a jury. His attorney argued at the time that Schmidt did not deny shooting the gun, but never intended to hurt anyone.
Police went to Schmidt's home at 216 E. Belvidere St. on St. Paul's West Side shortly after Footh was shot nearby.
was found lying on a couch in his garage with a can of Budweiser next to it. He did not respond when police knocked repeatedly; they kicked in the door.
Schmidt told an investigator that he had nothing to do with the shooting. "I've been sleeping in the garage for the last two days because I can't stand fireworks," he said that night at police headquarters.
The prosecution later argued that Schmidt took out his frustration with the fireworks by blasting three shots into a crowd of revelers -- which included the boy.
John Footh and Gunnar's mother, Elizabeth Schaab, said outside the courtroom that they had hoped for a more severe sentence. They also wish Schmidt could have been charged initially with attempted murder, they said.
"I guess we take what we can get," John Footh said.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.