Charges were increased Monday against a Cortland man accused of shooting a nursing home employee in the face with a pellet gun.
Shawn Fagan, 52, of 33 Kellogg Road, was charged with first-degree assault, a felony, Monday afternoon, following a decision by Cortland police and the Cortland County District Attorney’s Office to amend Fagan’s original charge of second-degree assault, a felony.
Lt. Michael Strangeway said the charge was changed because the incident caused “serious physical injury” to the victim.
“Having two, three teeth knocked out of your head by a pellet rifle is serious physical injury,” he said Monday. “Teeth, as you know, just can’t be put back in. It’s not like it’s baby teeth and the adult will grow in, she lost her adult teeth.”
Fagan is also charged with fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor.
The victim, a 43-year-old employee of Crown Park Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on Kellogg Road, had stepped outside the nursing home around 8:10 p.m. Friday and was standing near the road, looking at her cell phone when she heard a loud pop and felt pain and a metallic taste in her mouth, police said, followed by blood coming from her mouth.
She looked up to see a man, later identified as Fagan, entering his nearby home.
Police said the attack left the victim with a hole in her lower lip, two lost teeth and a loosened tooth. She was treated at the scene by medics from TLC Emergency Medical Services ambulance. Strangeway said the woman was taken to Upstate University hospital in Syracuse, where she had to have a surgical procedure to remove the .177-caliber pellet from her jaw and will need to either have an implant or partial plate put in to replace her teeth.
Police interviewed Fagan, who refused to cooperate and shouted at his mother, with whom he lives, “Don’t tell them anything,” police said. He denied the residence had pellet guns or other weapons.
Police acquired a search warrant and found a loaded 12-gauge shotgun in Fagan’s room. They also found a high-powered pellet rifle wrapped in aluminum foil, police said.
Fagan had previously told police he believes Crown Center is a front, and houses illegal immigrants inside, police said, and told police Friday that Crown Center is full of criminals.
Fagan was re-arraigned in Cortland City Court and released on a $5,000 bond pending an appearance Jan. 22 in city court.