GATE CITY — A Gate City man was sentenced to five years in prison this week after he pleaded guilty to drunkenly firing a weapon inside his apartment, and towards a local school, last year while two minors were present.
Timothy Wayne Sturgill, 50, 212 Gatewood Court Apartments, was given a 20 year prison sentence with all but five suspended after he pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of abuse and neglect of a minor and one count each of firing a firearm near a school and unlawfully firing a weapon in an occupied dwelling.
All four charges are considered Class 6 felonies, which carry maximum sentences of five years in prison.
Virginia State sentencing guidelines, however, called for Sturgill to receive between one day and six months incarceration.
"We think the judge saw the seriousness and dangerousness of the act, and that rendered the guidelines inapplicable after that," Scott County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dan Fellhauer said.
Sturgill was arrested in September 2012 by the Gate City Police Department after Scott County Central Dispatch received a report of gunshots being fired at the Gatewood Court Apartments, which are located in close proximity to Gate City High School and Middle School.
"He was heavily intoxicated," Fellhauer said. "He fired the weapon in his apartment, it then traveled through the floor and ceiling of the apartment below. Fortunately that apartment was unoccupied. Then he fired in the direction of Gate City High School."
Fellhauer said that two minor boys were also in the apartment when the shots were fired from the .22-caliber pistol, leading the abuse and neglect charges.
According to initial reports from Gate City police, Sturgill allegedly ignored verbal commands from officers to open the door and surrender once authorities had arrived at the apartment.
As a result, he reportedly had to be physically restrained once officers gained access to the apartment.
Witnesses reportedly told officers at the time that they saw Sturgill standing on the back porch of his apartment with a pistol pointed in the direction of Gate City High School’s football field.
Gate City police said several children were on the field when the shots were fired, but none were in immediate danger.