Racine man familiarizing himself with new gun, ends up shooting, wounding neighbor

RACINE -- He was trying to familiarize himself with a new gun he recently purchased -- and it went off. Now, 22-year-old Ronnell Spruiel of Racine faces multiple charges including:

    According to the criminal complaint, Racine police were dispatched to investigate a shots fired report at an apartment complex in Racine around 8:20 p.m. on Saturday, November 25th. When they arrived on the scene, they found a shooting victim who had a "visible gunshot wound" to the back of his head. The victim and two other witnesses indicated they were sitting in a bedroom when they heard a gunshot -- and realized one person had been hit.

    While checking the scene, officers noticed a gunshot hole coming from the wall of another apartment in the building. They entered that apartment to make sure there were no injured persons inside. They subsequently obtained a search warrant for that apartment.

    During their search of the apartment, Ronnell Spruiel was identified as a suspect. Officers located a gun box in a kitchen cabinet. Inside the gun box was "ammunition and a receipt for the sale of a Smith and Wesson 9mm Shield" to Spruiel. The search also turned up "items of drug paraphernalia consisting of pipes used to smoke marijuana and crack, baggies and a digital gram scale. One of the bags contained an amount of suspected marijuana shake."

    Investigators ended up speaking with Spruiel on the telephone. Spruiel stated "he knew why police wanted to speak with him." He told officers he was in his kitchen and "trying to familiarize himself with the gun." He took the gun apart and put it back together again. Spruiel stated "upon putting the clip back in the gun it went off." Spruiel said he fled the apartment with the gun -- and hid it at another residence. The gun was later located by officers.

    Spruiel is due in court for a preliminary hearing on December 6th.