St. Ignatius man charged for shooting BB guns at youth
POLSON — A St. Ignatius man is accused of shooting a BB gun at two juveniles, striking one in the eye. Julian Haynes Lutes, 21, entered a plea of not guilty at District Court in Polson on Sept. 2 to two counts of felony assault with a weapon.
According to charging documents, on April 2, police in St. Ignatius responded to a report that a juvenile had been shot in the eye with a BB gun. The officer spoke with the two juveniles. One had blood dripping down his face. The juveniles said they were on the roof of a deli when someone shot at them. One of the juveniles was struck twice in the back and welts on his back were consistent with his story. They also said they saw a man, later identified as Lutes, smoking a cigarette and holding BB gun. They said they heard him pumping up the gun before shooting at them. Lutes told the officer that he thought the juveniles were breaking into cars in the area.
The boy that was shot in the eye was transported to a hospital in Missoula for surgery and was referred to a specialist in Utah to have the BB removed. He suffered “significant” vision loss.
Lutes is also accused of sending messages to one of the juveniles parents saying “he got exactly what he deserved.” A second message read “you’re lucky it was only a BB.” A third text read “I’m glad he lost an eye.” A fourth message read “wish it was an automatic BB gun and I got both of ‘em.”
Judge Deborah “Kim” Christopher set a trial date of Jan. 24, 2022. Lutes remains at liberty.