SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The Sioux Falls man who claims he accidentally shot his pregnant wife; killing their unborn child, is facing more serious charges.
This incident happened on Sunday afternoon.
22-year-old Sheldon Pettibone was initially charged with simple assault.
Wednesday the charges changed to 1st degree and 2nd degree manslaughter after an autopsy determined his unborn child died from that single gunshot.
Sheldon Pettibone is now facing five charges, including first and second degree manslaughter.
The shooting happened just after 3 p.m. on Sunday at the couple’s apartment on S. Marion Road.
According to court records, Pettibone told police he was sitting on the couch watching NFL football while cleaning his handgun, which he says didn’t contain a magazine.
Pettibone says when the gun fired, he went to a prone position and covered his ears due to the noise.
He says his wife, who was four months pregnant, got up off the couch and walked out of the living room, but soon returned and told him that she had been shot in the upper thigh.
According to court records, Pettibone applied a tourniquet to his wife’s leg, but then noticed she was bleeding from the stomach too.
So he applied a t-shirt to her stomach and then drove her to the hospital.
Doctors performed surgery on her injury and delivered the baby via c-section, but the baby didn’t make it.
“Working on our end with the investigation and then the coroner made his determination that the unborn child died as the result of a gunshot wound so that’s why the additional charge came down,
Police say only one shot was fired, but what about the bleeding from her stomach?
“I think what happened was the entrance wound that was in the upper thigh and then the bullet traveled up in her body,” Clemens said.
During his police interview, Pettibone said there was a possibility that the gun was fired due to ‘operator error.’ He said it was too difficult to think about the fact he had just shot his wife.
Pettibone is being held in jail on $50,000 cash bond.