Man says he accidentally shot wife

July 21, 2009 8:22:31 PM PDT
A man told police he thought he was shooting an intruder inside his Willis home, but instead wounded his wife. The shooting happened around 2:30am Tuesday in the 9000 block of Zapata Drive. When Montgomery County Sheriff's deputies responded, they say they found Sarah Hanel, 27, in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest.

Her husband, Justin Hanel, 25, told deputies he had woken up in the middle of the night and thought he heard an intruder. That's when he said he noticed a figure walking towards him, so he fired a handgun several times.

It was after the shooting, he told police, that he realized the figure walking towards him was his wife.

"Right after he fired, he heard his wife say, 'You shot me,' and he realized in fact that he had shot his own wife," said Lt. Dan Norris with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office. "He immediately applied first aid and called for assistance."

Sarah Hanel was transported via Life Flight to Hermann Hospital. She is listed in critical condition. Authorities say she is lucky to be alive.

Friends call Sarah and Justin Hanel a young, happy couple who were starting off their lives together.

"He's a nice guy, and she's a nice girl," said neighbor Kyle Tharp.

Neighbors we spoke with didn't hear anything overnight. Tharp saw the couple working in their yard Monday afternoon.

"They're a normal married couple. Always walking around together and doing crafts together in the garage. Nice people," said Tharp.

Authorities interviewed Justin and the case has been referred to the district attorney's office. At this point, it doesn't' look like charges will be filed against him.

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