A Fairfield woman has been charged with misdemeanor negligent homicide after a Saturday incident during which she is accused of shooting her husband in the head while handling the gun of another relative, police and court records show.
When police arrived at the Fairfield residence on Saturday, the victim, Tika Katel, 57, was laying on the floor. His wife, Subha Katel, held his head in her lap. He was not conscious but was breathing, according to Fairfield police documents. He was pronounced dead on Monday.
During their investigation, officers were told that just after 3 p.m. Saturday, Subha Katel, 43, saw a handgun holstered in the waistband of a cousin, Subash Katel, who was with other relatives visiting from Pennsylvania, according to Fairfield Municipal Court documents. They were in town to visit Tika’s mother, who is ill, according to court documents.
Subash Katel was seated in the living room and “in a matter of seconds, Subha Katel saw the gun and grabbed the gun from the holster. As she was grabbing the gun … Subha Katel asked Subash Katel if the gun was a toy or real,” according to the court documents.
As Subha Katel asked if the gun was real, she allegedly pulled the trigger and fired the weapon, police said. Subha Katel said she was trying to hand the gun back to Subash Katel when it “went off,” and she was uncertain if she actually handed it back to her cousin or she dropped it.
Tika Katel, 57, was struck by a bullet in the left side of his head. He was transported to Mercy Health-Fairfield Hospital by an ambulance, and then transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He died Monday, according to the Hamilton County Coroner’s Office.
Subha Katel told police she had never seen a real gun before, and only saw a toy gun once nearly a decade ago.
Family members called 911. The calls were frantic, and family members were crying and screaming for help, according to audio of the calls reviewed by this news organization.
One said, “My dad’s been shot.”
Another said, “I think it was an accident.”
Police charged Subha Katel on Tuesday with negligent homicide, a first-degree misdemeanor. She appeared with family members and an interpreter in Fairfield Municipal Court on Tuesday afternoon and was released on her own recognizance.
Judge Joyce Campbell required she wear an electronic monitoring device around her ankle. Subha Katel also surrendered her passport and is regulated to travel only in Ohio.
She will be back in court at 1 p.m. on Aug. 21 with her court-appointed attorney Tina Barrett.
Tika Katel lived in the Goldhap Camp, a refugee camp in Nepal, before migrating to New Hampshire in 2009, according to the family. He moved in 2016 to southwest Ohio with his family.
The Bhutanese Community of Cincinnati posted Monday on Facebook it is “deeply saddened” at Katel’s death.
“We extend our condolence and deepest sympathy to family and friends. May his soul rest in peace,” the Facebook post reads.
A funeral service is scheduled for from noon to 2 p.m. today at the Spring Grove Funeral Home in Cincinnati.
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