Man charged in fatal 'target practice' shooting

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Detroit News file photo

A Riley Township man faces two charges in the fatal late-March shooting of his 73-year-old neighbor, Shirley Pfeil, who died after being hit as the man was shooting at a target in his backyard. 

St. Clair County Prosecutor Mike Wendling said the warrant was signed Thursday and that the 21-year-old suspect is expected to be arraigned later Thursday.

He declined to share specifics of the case. The suspect, whose name won't be released until he's arraigned, faces a charge careless discharge of a firearm causing death, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of lying to a police officer.

The shooting took place about 12:40 p.m. on March 25, on the 13000 block of Dunn in Riley Township. 

Pfeil was standing in her kitchen with her husband, when he heard a loud cracking sound, said Michigan State Police Lt. David Kaiser. The husband then looked over and realized his wife had fallen to the floor.

Medics arrived, but ultimately Pfeil died from her injuries.

Police said the neighbor was firing a rifle into a large dirt mound in his backyard. One of the shots missed the mark and instead came through the Pfeil family's kitchen window, striking her.

The 21-year-old was described as "very cooperative" at the time, but faces a charge of lying to the police a month later. 

"He's very devastated to learn that what he's been doing, his passion, target shooting, to learn that one of his rounds actually killed and hit somebody," Kaiser said at the time.