SHAFTSBURY — Police charged a Pownal man on Wednesday with lying to investigators after he supposedly lied several times about how he got shot in the hand.
The man, John Wallner, 34, was cited to appear in Bennington Superior criminal court next month on a charge of providing false information to law enforcement, according to a state police news release.
On Sunday, state police said, they learned about a shooting incident after Wallner went to St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam, N.Y. with a gunshot wound to the hand. Police said he initially claimed to have been shot in New York, before changing his story to say he was shot in Pownal, near Barber Pond.
“He told Vermont Troopers that he did not realize he was shot and it was possibly a bee sting,” the news release states.
Afterwards, Wallner reportedly changed his story again: he’d been hit by a stray bullet from an unknown shooter.
When the state police’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation followed up with him, Wallner allegedly told detectives that he accidentally shot himself while cleaning his firearm.
State police said that BCI, along with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, determined that he lied to investigators, “likely to conceal details of the incident.” They believe the shooting happened in Vermont and are continuing to investigate.
State police are asking anyone with information on Wallner’s shooting to call the Shaftsbury Barracks at 802-442-5421 or submit an anonymous tip online, via vsp.vermont.gov/tipsubmit.