KENDALLVILLE — The man who blew a 3-inch hole into the neck and collarbone of another person with what the prosecutor could only describe as a sawed-off, hair-trigger “pirate gun” will spend at least the next 8 1/2 years in prison.
The fact that the victim in the case didn’t die could only be attributed to a “miracle,” or else Kyle Gibson, 28, might be facing more serious time.
On Tuesday, Gibson was sentenced after pleading guilty last month to a Level 5 felony count of carrying a handgun with a license and a Level 6 felony charge of criminal recklessness.
The case was pleaded down from an original charge of aggravated battery.
Police were called to the area of North Main and Wayne streets at 11:05 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2019, on a report of possible shots fired in the area. Officers from Kendallville, Avilla and the Noble County Sheriff’s Department arrived to investigate.
While at the scene, police received a call from Parkview Noble Hospital that the emergency department had just received a patient with an apparent gunshot wound. The individual was dropped off by two people who left without providing any information, according to a Kendallville Police Department news release.
The victim was treated at Parkview Noble but later transferred to a Fort Wayne hospital in critical condition following the shooting.
While investigating at the scene, police determined that a shooting took place in a garage behind a residence in the 300 block of North Main Street. After the shooting, the victim was then transported to the hospital by a personal vehicle and left at the ER.
Police had issued a public call for help in locating Gibson and a woman who officers believed was with him. They were located early in the morning on Feb. 6 in a Fort Wayne hotel, where Gibson was arrested.
In court Tuesday, Gibson’s attorney Greg Fumarolo made a few brief arguments on his client’s behalf, pointing out mainly that after the shooting occurred, Gibson and another woman loaded up the victim, Mark Singleton, and took him to the hospital, a move that almost certainly helped save his life.
“Those who were there ran after Mr. Singleton was struck or began to cover up the crime,” Fumarolo said.
Gibson also pleaded guilty and had accepted responsibility for his role in the incident.
When asked, Gibson — wearing an orange jumpsuit and glasses and now with long hair and a short beard — stood up to tell Noble Circuit Court Judge Michael Kramer that he took full responsibility for his actions and that he wanted to apologize to Singleton and his family directly, although none attended Tuesday’s hearing.
Gibson acknowledged that with his long criminal history, which included multiple felonies, that he didn’t expect to get much leniency, but still asked for mercy from the judge.
“I’ve got a lot to prove that I’ve left the old Kyle behind me,” he said.
Noble County Prosecutor Jim Mowery spent much of his argument focused on the firearm in the case and the “ridiculously reckless” behavior that night.
Mowery presented a photo of the weapon, a double-barreled, sawed-off shotgun with no trigger guard, a weapon that Mowery could only summarize by stating it looked like it came out of a “pirate movie.”
“Everything about that firearm is dangerous,” Mowery said, adding later, “It was incredibly likely that someone was going to be injured.”
Someone was, as Mowery described the wound as a 3-inch hole to the neck and collarbone area of the victim. Moved just slightly in any direction, the wound likely would have been instantly or near-instantly fatal.
Gibson was designated as a high risk to reoffend in a pre-sentence investigation and Mowery asked for a maximum sentence.
Based on the terms of the please, the Level 5 and Level 6 felony counts would be served consecutively instead of concurrently, creating a possible maximum of six years for the handgun charge and 2 1/2 years for the criminal recklessness.
On a redirect, Fumarolo noted that while the sawed-off gun in the incident was not owned by Gibson, he did illegally possess it the night of the shooting.
When given off to Kramer, the judge found far more aggravating circumstances than mitigating.
Kramer gave weight to mitigating factors including Gibson’s remorse and credit for taking the victim to the hospital, but those were outnumbered by aggravating factors including use of a firearm, serious bodily injury, Gibson’s long criminal history and that fact that Gibson was self-admittedly high on methamphetamine at the time of the incident.
Gibson has also previously been sentenced to probation four times before and violated and had his probation revoked all four times.
“This is, I don’t know how it could get more dangerous,” Kramer said. “You do pose a danger to the safety of the community.”
With that, Kramer sentenced Gibson to a maximum sentence of 8 1/2 years total in the case. That sentence will run consecutive to a two-year probation sentence in a second case — which Kramer noted had it not been stipulated as probation in the plea it likely would have been more time behind bars due to his “horrible history on probation.”
The sentences will also run concurrent to any sentences handed out in another pending Noble County case, to time Gibson is currently serving in Allen County and to a pending matter in DeKalb County.
Gibson was also ordered to pay $384,338 in restitution to the victim for medical bills and other expenses incurred due to the shooting, as well as $250 restitution in the second case.