Niles man charged with shooting friend

Published 9:22 am Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Niles man is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison after he allegedly shot his friend in the chest with a shotgun during an argument Sunday in Bertrand Township.

Darron Lewark, 24, was formally charged Monday in Berrien County Trial Court with one count of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder — a felony carrying a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

Darron Lewark

Darron Lewark

He was also charged with possessing a firearm/shotgun during the commission of a felony and possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol.

Judge Dennis Wiley set Lewark’s bond at $100,000 cash or surety.

Troopers with the Michigan State Police Niles Post responded to a shooting in the 1200 block of West Bertrand Road in Bertrand Township at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday. The victim was found on the front porch of the residence with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest, according to a press release from the MSP.

An investigation determined that Lewark and the victim got into an argument and that Lewark allegedly shot the victim once in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Police said alcohol appears to be a factor in the incident.

The victim, whose name is being withheld, was originally listed in stable, but critical condition.

Det. Doug Kill, of MSP Niles Post, said the victim is expected to survive but remains in the intensive care unit.

Kill said the nature of the argument has not been determined because investigators have not yet been able to speak to the victim or the suspect.

Kill said the victim and Lewark were friends.

A witness — Janelle Craig — said Monday outside the courthouse that she believes Lewark did not intend to shoot the victim.

“It was completely accidental,” Craig said. “He didn’t want to hurt nobody.”

Kill said Craig is Lewark’s girlfriend.