Man arraigned for firing bullet that hit child

A 40-year-old man was arraigned Monday for allegedly shooting himself with a hunting rifle and firing a round that went through a floor, hitting a child, at a San Jose apartment complex late last month, a Santa Clara County deputy district attorney said.

Eric Smith, 40, of San Jose, was arraigned today on felony charges of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, negligent discharge of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm, Deputy District Attorney Michael Gadeberg said.

Each charge has a great bodily injury enhancement and if convicted Smith faces 17 years in prison, Gadeberg said.

He has a previous felony conviction of hit-and-run causing bodily injury in 1993 in Santa Clara County, according to Gadeberg.

Smith was in a wheelchair when he appeared at the Hall of Justice this afternoon before Superior Court Judge Daniel Nishigaya.

The defendant did not enter a plea and his next court hearing was scheduled for Nov. 19, according to Gadeberg.

On Oct. 28 around 5:45 a.m., officers responded to a report of a person shot in the 1900 block of Almaden Road, police Sgt. Enrique Garcia said.

Smith allegedly shot himself with a .30-06 bolt-action rifle, with a round passing through his apartment floor before hitting a 9-year-old boy who had been sleeping, according to Gadeberg.

Arriving officers found Smith and the child wounded and emergency crews transported them to a hospital for treatment of injuries not considered life-threatening, Garcia said.

The child is still at the hospital recovering and has undergone a series of surgeries, Gadeberg said:

“We can never feel safe when there’s people like the defendant who because of their criminal history are prohibited from having firearms but still mange to get hands on a firearm.”

The shooting injured Smith’s left foot and he was treated for several days at the hospital before being booked into jail, Gadeberg said.

Smith is being held on $260,000 bail, Gadeberg said.