Man faces firearms charges after suicide attempt

Donald Null

ELKHART — An Elkhart man faces charges after an alleged suicide attempt injured a woman instead.

Donald Null, 18, was arrested Thursday following an incident at a Pleasant Plain Avenue residence that resulted in a woman’s leg being grazed by a bullet. He was charged with criminal recklessness with a firearm in a building, a Level 5 felony, and with domestic battery with a deadly weapon and criminal confinement, both Level 6 felonies.

He was booked in the Elkhart County Correctional Facility on $15,000 bond. His initial court hearing was set for Friday.

A Level 5 felony is punishable by up to six years in prison and a Level 6 felony by up to 2-1/2 years.

According to court documents:

Elkhart police responded to the residence at around 6:11 p.m. for a report of a domestic disturbance and a suicidal subject with a firearm. Officers were approached by Null and the woman, who said they were the people involved and that Null had tried to shoot himself in the head but missed.

Null had scratch marks on his arms and legs and the woman had a small, bright red injury on the right side of her leg. She said she had felt a sting after Null pulled the trigger and thought she had been grazed by the bullet.

The two said they had started arguing earlier that afternoon. Null told the woman the next time she came back to the residence he would be “six foot under the ground.”

She tried to leave the residence through the front or back door, but Null followed her around, yelling and slamming every door she opened. This lasted about five minutes, until Null went into a bedroom and got a loaded revolver and said he was going to kill himself.

The woman tried to take the gun from him but he picked her up and slammed her on the bed, then put a hand on her chest painfully, she told police. Null then walked around the residence with the gun to his head for a few minutes as the woman repeatedly tried to take it from him.

He was able to force shut a door between the hallway and kitchen, and as the woman was pulling on it, she heard a single shot and felt the sting in her leg. She opened the door and saw Null standing there, looking disoriented.

Null told officers the recoil caused the gun to fire above his head and through the door. He said he put the gun away after realizing that he was still alive.

Police noted in their report that Null is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and the bullet hole in the door was 5 feet off the ground. They observed that it was unlikely that the round would have entered the door where it did if Null had been standing with the gun pointed at his head.

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