Guilty plea for rifle shot in Mattituck

06/10/2010 12:00 AM |

The Mattituck man arrested last October for accidentally firing his rifle and injuring a Mattituck High School student as she sat in her classroom pleaded guilty last Thursday to all charges against him, according to online records.

Kevin Ehlinger, 29, had said his rifle went off accidentally the afternoon of Oct. 8 while he was cleaning it at home near the high school. Senior Amanda Olsen, 18, suffered minor injuries when her head was grazed by the bullet, which strayed through an open window in her classroom.

Charged with reckless endangerment, as well as other charges for firing a gun in a restricted area and drug possession, Mr. Ehlinger originally pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Oct. 21. Suffolk assistant district attorney Steven Kuehhas said during Mr. Ehlinger’s arraignment that witnesses had “observed the defendant come out and start mowing the lawn after the shots were fired.”

“It’s clear the defendant was trying to hide the fact that he discharged the weapon,” he said.

Mr. Ehlinger is expected to be sentenced July 29.

For a few tense moments that afternoon, anyone connected with Mattituck High School — students, teachers, parents and friends — scrambled to either give or get information on what had happened at 1:53 p.m. and why the school was in lockdown.

While police K-9 units tracked down the suspect, students and teachers were kept inside the school for nearly an hour. Some students used their mobile phones to exchange text messages with their parents. Ms. Olsen was treated in the school nurse’s office. She was back at school the next day.

Police said Mr. Ehlinger was in possession of marijuana and LSD at the time of the incident.