CROWN POINT — A Griffith man pleaded guilty Monday to a felony criminal recklessness charge alleging he fired a gun into the air during a fight last year outside a Schererville restaurant.
Manuel Jeronimo Jr., 26, was accused of starting the fight inside the El Salto restaurant off U.S. 41 about 2 a.m. June 16 by telling a man holding a purse for a woman while she used the restroom, "nice purse," records state.
The man replied, "You wish you had it," and exchanged words with Jeronimo, according to Lake Criminal Court records.
In a plea agreement, Jeronimo admitted he drove up as the man, woman and a second man stood among a crowd outside the restaurant, got out of his car and fired a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun into the air five to eight times.
Jeronimo initially was charged with battery by means of a deadly weapon, intimidation, pointing a firearm, three counts of criminal recklessness and two misdemeanor counts of battery resulting in bodily injury.
He pleaded guilty Monday to one count of criminal recklessness, a level 5 felony.
If Judge Salvador Vasquez accepts his plea, he could face a sentence of six months on home detention, followed by a year on probation.
Vasquez set Jeronimo's sentencing hearing for March 16.
Lake County Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Grindlay handled the case for the state. Jeronimo is represented by attorney Alexander Lopez.
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