A Hayward man who reportedly pointed a gun at his adult son and himself while they were drinking alcohol Dec. 30 has been charged.
Matthew M. Merritt, 52, was charged in Chippewa County Court with possession of a firearm by a felon, second-degree recklessly endangering safety, pointing a firearm at another person and misdemeanor battery. Merritt will appear in court Feb. 11.
According to the criminal complaint, Chippewa Falls police were called to the AmericInn hotel, 11 South Ave., shortly before midnight on Dec. 30, after an 18-year-old male reported that his father had pushed him out of their hotel room. Police observed the victim had minor bruises on his collarbone.
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The victim said his father had a loaded 45 magnum, and he had held the gun to both his own head, as well as to his son’s head. Both Merritt and his son had been consuming alcohol.
“He put the gun up to my head and his head but was joking, but not 100% sure if he was joking or not,” the criminal complaint states. The victim said he was scared after seeing the gun.
When police interviewed Merritt, he denied touching his son, or owning a gun. Police did seize marijuana and a pipe from the hotel room. Officers obtained permission to search a vehicle, where they located the gun and ammunition. They observed footprints leading to the car in freshly-fallen snow.
Merritt was convicted of OWI-7th offense in Barron County in 2006 and was sentenced to serve three years in prison. Because of that felony conviction, he is not allowed to own or possess a firearm.
Online court records also show Merritt has twice been convicted of disorderly conduct.
Merritt initially appeared in court for a bond hearing Jan. 2; he was released the following day after posting a $500 cash bond.