By Jeff Gallatin
A Bay Village man convicted of firing a weapon that caused a bullet to go into the bedroom wall of a young neighbor girl in 2014 is facing five additional charges for allegedly firing a shot in midafternoon April 13 that went into the garage of another Russell Road neighbor.
Zachary Gilchrist, 21, is scheduled for a May 5 pretrial hearing before Rocky River Municipal Court Judge Donna Congeni Fitzsimmons on five misdemeanor weapons-related charges for allegedly firing a shot that went into the Russell Road garage of Neil Zurcher. In April 2014 Gilchrist was charged and eventually found guilty in Municipal Court Judge Brian Hagan’s court of discharging a gun, a shot which went into the bedroom wall of Keir Kurinsky’s daughter while his wife was reading their daughter a story.
After Gilchrist’s initial court appearances last week on the newest charges, he was released on $10,000 bond to his father. Gilchrist was required to surrender to police a concealed carry weapons permit, which he had obtained in Geauga County, as well as leave the Bay Village home where he had been living with his mother and live with his father in Lakewood.
Detective Jay Elish, the Bay Village city police officer investigating the case, said officers also confiscated several handguns, rifles and ammunition from the Bay Village home. In the first incident, Gilchrist claimed the weapon had been accidentally discharged while he was cleaning it. Elish said the department is continuing to investigate what took place in the latest incident.
“We’re confident that we got all the weapons and ammunition out of the house and he is now living with his father in Lakewood,” Elish said. “We’re also contacting Geauga County officials to see if we can get the concealed carry permit revoked.”
Elish noted that the department took calls from neighbors about the latest incident.
“It’s understandably upsetting to them that a gunshot went off in a residential area where someone could get hurt, “ Elish said, “particularly since it involved the same person and happened in the same general area. We are working on this and doing whatever we can under the law.”
Kurinsky, whose home is by Zurcher’s garage. said he’s upset because Gilchrist was able to be involved in a similar incident.
“I know he was able to get weapons again under the law, but it’s not right that he can be able to do so, especially since he’s shown he shouldn’t be allowed access to weapons, especially in a residential neighborhood,” Kurinsky said. “People around here are very upset by this.”
In addition, Kurinsky said he’s upset that terms of probation for Gilchrist in the first incident allow him to obtain the permit and weapons.
“I’m afraid he’s going to be able to do something like this again, and next time someone will get hurt because of it,” he said.
Zurcher said he feels fortunate because his wife had been parking a family vehicle in the garage a short time before the incident took place.
“This could have been a different story if it took place five minutes earlier,” Zurcher said. “The young man did come and tell me about it, because I didn’t know about it until then. I would like to see him undergo some tests to see if it’s appropriate to let him handle these type of weapons in the future. And I certainly understand people being upset by it.”